I first heard about this book from our very enthusiastic teen librarian who had just gone to a YA workshop. The book that was the buzz of the workshop was Hunger Games, the first book in a proposed trilogy. Since then, I have seen it fly off the shelves as teens also took an interest. Despite its popularity, I have not seen it make any of the “award” lists that are so popular these days.
Katniss lives in one of the poorest districts in what was once the United States. As punishment for a past rebellion, each district must send one boy and one girl to participate in the Hunger Games once a year where only one person survives. When her younger sister is drawn in the lottery Katniss does not hesitate to volunteer to take her place.
I won’t kid you, the topic is brutal. We are talking life and death of children here but the social commentary is wickedly smart and thought-provoking. The characters are well-drawn and the reader becomes conflicted and full of tension realizing only one person can survive. The pace is fast and uneven-surprises are everywhere but unlike a bestselling thriller, there is depth in these pages. This would make an excellent book discussion title. 2008, 374 pages.