The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What I liked best about The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins was that I was able to share the excitement with BOTH my daughters, pre-teen and teen. They both loved the book and it was fun to share our thoughts about the characters and everything that happened. We had lively discussions of the characters and events - it was as though they were real.
And while it was easy enough to put down when I first started the book, once Peeta and Katniss arrive in the Capitol of Panem to begin training for the games, I was hooked. I didn't want to put the book down until it was finished, I had to know what happened next and how it would all end. Fortunately, it is a quick and easy read and now I look forward to reading the sequels.
Set in the future in the ruins of North America, I thought it clever that the author televised the games in each of the 12 districts. It was interesting how they prepared the tributes to make an impression (including Haymitch's encouraging of the romance between Peeta and Katniss), and how important that would be to sponsors. The similarity to today's reality TV is striking.
What I liked least about The Hunger Games was that it is a young adult novel, but is a story about kids killing kids. Even the thought is repelling. Until I read it, I worried that the storyline would be too violent and disturbing for younger readers.
It IS violent, but it's survival and intuition and friendship too. And it's a really good read!
Now about the movie:
The Hunger Games movie is good also, but there are differences as is so often the case in movie versus book. (Spoiler alert...) For example, in the book when Katniss sings to Rue as she dies and then adorns her dead body with flowers, the people of District 11 thank Katniss by sending her a gift of bread, while the movie versus reflected only a rebellion. Also in the book, Katniss loses her hearing in one ear after the loud explosion she caused to destroy the stored food supplies of the career tributes. The movie didn't mention any hearing loss. The movie also didn't quite match the book in the relationship between Peeta and Katniss, and particularly how Katniss pretends to have feelings for Peeta in order to gain sponsors and receive needed gifts. That was really downplayed in the movie. And there are more. But one thing I thought superior in the movie was the burning capes worn by Katniss and Peeta in the opening ceremonies. It exceeded even my imagination! It was a well done movie adaptation!