I have been having a tough time writing this review, though I finished this book early this week. I have been contemplating what it all means and how Suzanne Collins told such a wonderfully compelling story through the eyes of a young protagonist, Katniss Everdeen without introducing vampires or werewolves! Trust me - I am first in line for a vampire story, but we all need a break. I know I have been all over the YA genre throughout this project and I was beginning to wonder if I was digressing into a more juvenile mindset - but as I pondered more, I think not. The YA genre is telling stories now in a much deeper fashion than when I was a kid. They are tackling subjects like the environment and world peace as well as love and whimsy. The fact that they use young people to tell these stories makes it more compelling. Maybe it's because my grown-up self is just too consumed in the day to day, or maybe it's because I have become too jaded to think that I can change anything. The heroes and heroines in these stories have balls and they are steadily kicking ass.
Katniss lives in the ruins that was once North America. She is a resident of District 12, known for mining coal and nothing else. They are a very poor people, as are everyone in the nation and they live under the rule of The Capitol. The Capitol is pretty hardcore and the way they keep citizens in line is by forcing all districts to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games. Unfortunately - this is not much of a game, since the participants are forced to fight to the death while it is all being televised. Talk about reality TV!!
Katniss' twelve-year-old sister, Prim, was pulled to represent District 12, but Katniss steps in to take her place. Thus begins this amazing adventure. This book captured me from page one...my heart raced and I was yelling along with the crowd. Katniss is a wily young woman and uses her wit and skill to survive and to try to outwit the Capitol. Against all odds, she becomes a contender and this puts her in an even more vulnerable position. She has to make decisions that will affect her and the citizens of the nation.
Lots of adventure and a little bit of romance this is an engrossing tale. I was both saddened and encouraged. I couldn't help but wonder if this was a future that could happen to us all...maybe not in such a grotesque manner, but in smaller more subtle ways. I can't get this book out of my head and in the next two weeks, I will be reading the remainder of the trilogy.