The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins,

Book cover of The Hunger Games

Book description

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before - and survival, for her, is second nature. The Hunger Games is…

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Why read it?

26 authors picked The Hunger Games as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The very premise of this trilogy is chilling—a staged battle where children fight one another to the death—and it’s hard to see how a noble character could have any part in this. But Katniss volunteers out of the selfless desire to save her sister, which creates the immediate question of how someone that kind-hearted could participate in such a horrific spectacle. 

I remember reading with apprehension about Katniss’s burgeoning friendships, because I knew she would have to kill or be killed in the end. How would she reconcile what she was forced to do with her own humanity? 

When the…

I think it important to acknowledge newer dystopian among the classics, and I feel The Hunger Games to be a bright and powerful new story in this genre. Why I love this story is that it comments on the grizzly measures a collapsing society will go to suppress and dope up its citizens while also providing us with a suspenseful and action-packed tale of a young woman forced to fight in a modern colosseum. The world-building and imagining of this modern Rome society was vivid and really immersed me, and has challenged me as a writer to think of new…

Is this choice off-topic? Or too obvious? I can’t tell, and I don’t care. I started this first book in the classic young adult dystopian series in the airport waiting to board my flight, and I can’t remember much else that happened in my life until I finished it, shortly thereafter, in another country. Even the twenty of you out there who never read the novel(s) or saw the movie(s) know that Katniss Everdeen must kill or be killed in the televised contest that bears the book’s name. But what kept me flying (like a mockingjay) through the pages was…

Katniss is her family’s breadwinner. Against all odds she has managed to keep her mother and younger sister alive after her father’s death.

We meet her on the day of the Reaping, the day the tributes are chosen to fight in the Capitol. When her sister is chosen, Katniss volunteers in her place, and the crowd’s refusal to clap in celebration of this annual ritual is the first act of defiance she will inspire. Others follow, culminating, at the end of the games, with her clever challenge to the cruel rules of a contest that pits children against each other,…

I love Katniss Everdeen as much for her strength as for her quirks; the things that make her feel like a real person. She finds relating to people challenging, which is something I struggled with growing up. Her anxiety can be felt when she plays with objects to calm herself, which I still occasionally do. Yet despite her difficulties in connecting with people, everything she does is for the sake of others. She is strong and capable in the face of adversity, which is something I work to achieve in my own life. Learning that her character may be on…

This is the book that inspired me to write a dystopian novel. It’s highly original, gripping, and filled with heart. What could be more dystopian than young people fighting each other to the death on live TV? Author Suzanne Collins provides the right balance between the action and the love story. Both culminate powerfully in the final book. Katniss Everdeen’s spirit and compassion are unforgettable.

The most recently published book on my list, 2008’s The Hunger Games, like all good dystopian fiction, presents us with a world that is both insanely different from our own yet entirely recognizable. North America has been split into twelve districts, each with its own specific natural resource, and is ruled over by the Capitol, whose wealthy citizens maintain their privileged lifestyles by exploiting the labor from the districts. In grand Roman gladiator tradition, two children are annually chosen from each district to participate in a widely televised battle royale to the death, serving as both punishment for a…

This first book in a trilogy I consumed like it was made of my favorite chocolate, The Hunger Games kept me wanting more. I totally related to Katniss Everdeen, maybe because of my past experiences in the US Army. I understood when she recognized she had to “play the game” in order to survive (and keep her little sister alive), even when it pained her—physically and emotionally—to do so. Told from her first-person perspective, the story pulled me right into each vivid moment and never released me. The characters are believable in an unbelievably cruel world, and the rare moments…

Yes, the duel to the death has been done many times before in science fiction (I’m thinking of Kirk facing the Gorn in the Star Trek episode Arena, and Blake fighting Travis in the woods in Blake’s 7 episode Duel) but there is something immersive in reading Katniss’s first-hand account of how she takes on all comers in a battle ground where everyone is out to get you! I love these ‘how would you fare in the same situation’ books. Would I have survived? Probably not if I was up against Katniss — although I definitely wouldn’t have gone near…

From Stephen's list on when something is out to get you.

I couldn’t end my list without mentioning Katniss Everdeen, one of the best-known protagonists in YA fiction. Though I never cared much about the love triangle in the Hunger Games books (please don’t hate-mail me, ship fans) I’m in full admiration of Katniss’s persistence and the lengths to which she’s willing to go to protect her family. This is another book I reread every so often, and even though I know what’s coming, the bit where Prim’s name is called and Katniss volunteers as tribute to protect her sister leaves a lump in my throat every time.

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