Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hunger Games: Hungry for More

Whatever it is you’re doing right now, stop. Put down the wrapping paper, let the cookies burn, and run, do not walk, to your library (or, if you must, your local bookstore). You MUST get yourself a copy of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games as soon as possible.

Wowzers. I seem to be incapable of anything but gushing at this moment, but similarly feel that if I don't blog about it right this second, I will have missed a golden opportunity to convey to you, the reader, the absolute and total enthrallment that was this book. I don't want to go on about this book in a way that overinflates it or doesn't give enough substance on which to go on, so...

At 16, Katniss has shouldered the burden of caring for her mother and sister for over four years – fending off starvation through her hunting and gathering skills. When her younger sister is chosen for the Hunger Games, an annual competition in this postapocolyptic world where one male and one female teenager from each district are randomly selected as tributes to fight in a televised competition to the death, Katniss steps forward to take her place. Only one will survive. To the victor go the spoils: a life free from hunger and pain. Survivor has been taken to the extreme, Katniss will need to outwit, outlast and outplay the competition. Her life depends on it.

This tightly written tale of survival grips the reader from the start and doesn't let go. The strong female protagonist and romantic subplot does nothing to undermine the action/suspense plot, which might normally scare off male readership. Collins' suspenseful tale immediately transports the reader into a future world without the hassle of overly wrought descriptions, which make the book impossible to put down, and engaging reluctant readers. The underlying message of rebellion, connection and perseverance make this a great read for in-class discussion as well.

Printz and Newbery contender whispers follow. This book is topping everyone's lists...

End of Book One.

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