The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Came out on October 1, 2008

Pages: 374

Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.

Source: hardcover (Christmas present)

Age group: young adult (crossover because both children and adults are interested in it)

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

An explosive dystopian novel, The Hunger Games is breathtaking. Suzanne Collins deftly weaves action scenes with love and sacrifice. In a horrifying world called Panem, it is everybody for themselves. It is impossible  to know who to trust and when you will have your next meal. Katniss will sacrifice anything and everything for her family so when her sister is practically sentenced to a death, Katniss takes Prim's place, knowing that she will surely die.

As she goes through the motions of the Hunger Games, then Katniss realizes that she might actually have a chance. If she wins, if she kills everybody in that arena, she will never go hungry. Her family will prosper, and after the death of her father, they need food and shelter and security.

There are problems, though. The one boy she would hesitate to kill is in that arena with her. And several of the people in that arena are trained killers. She can't escape. She can't run. She just has to fight.

I personally loved this book. The plot line was absolutely stunning and original and the characters were very well-developed. The dystopian world of Panem was very well thought out and executed and the plans, sacrifices, and love scenes were absolutely phenomenal.

Recommended for anybody who loves: dystopian novels, The Maze Runner, Gone, books with action, Graceling, etc,.

Possible book club questions:

The tributes are required to show the panel of Gamemakers one skill so that they can get sponsers. If you were in their places, what would you show them as your skill? How would you show them that?What do you think that the berries symbolized?Who do you think Katniss should have allied with? Were you happy with her choices or did you think that she should have chose differently?Do you think that Peeta dropped the bread on purpose or was it coincidence?Did you agree with the choices that Katniss' mother made? Do you think that you could have done differently?