Before I even get to the book, I have to tell you how I first came upon The Hunger Games. I work with at-risk students at a Title 1 middle school. One particular student had a locker down the hall from my office so I saw him several times a day. To say this nicely, he was one of those students that not many teachers or students cared for, but he was slowly growing on me. One day, I saw him carrying a book, and I asked him what he was reading. It was The Hunger Games. When he realized I had never read it, he exclaimed, "What?! Here...you can borrow my book. You have GOT to read this book! It's awesome!"
Now, if you know anything about middle school boys, you know that they are not very passionate about reading, so I needed to seize this opportunity. That night, I began reading The Hunger Games, and not only was I hooked from page one, but it also gave this needy boy and myself something to talk about. It was a common ground for us.
Okay, now onto the book...
The Hunger Games is one of the most action-packed, thrilling stories I have ever read. It's like a modern-day Robin Hood, but the protagonist is a young teenage girl named Katniss. I started this book without any prior knowledge of it, and that's how I would recommend for you to start it. But I know not everyone out there is a reader, so if you want to know more read on. If you want to read the book, well, here comes the spoiler, so stop reading now!
For real, I'm about to tell you all the juicy details, so stop reading if you want to be surprised!
Okay. I warned you.
Here's the rundown:
- The story takes place in the future in a country called Panem.
- Panem has 12 districts. District 1 is known as the Capitol.
- The main character, Katniss, lives with her sister, Prim, and her mother in District 12.
- The story is told in first-person point of view through the eyes of Katniss.
- Katniss is a teenager and hunts with Gale, an older boy also from District 12.
- District 12 is a very poor district and many die of starvation. Katniss and Gale hunt for survival and also sell their game to other District 12 citizens. Hunting and selling food is illegal.
- Every year, the Capitol hosts an event called The Hunger Games.
The Rules of The Hunger Games
- The purpose: to remind the country not to rebel. And its also very entertaining. Its like reality TV.
- "Tributes" (a boy and a girl) from each district are chosen to represent their district and compete in the games.
- Only one person can win the games. The last one alive wins.
- Katniss's little sister, Prim, is chosen for District 12; however, Katniss volunteers to take her place. The male tribute from District 12 shall be Peeta Mellark, the baker's son....and he has a crush on Katniss, but Katniss is pretty much oblivious to this fact.
- The Games take place in a man-made, undisclosed area, where the climate, vegetation, and wildlife are all controlled by the Capitol's Gamemakers.
- The winner of the games shall receive unlimited amount of luxuries for themselves and their family. Not to mention, a great amount of supplies for their needy district.
- Upon being chosen, every tribute is treated like a celebrity. They are given their own make-over team, and a camera crew follows them until they either win the games, or die trying.
- The games are broadcast to every district in Panem. Each district cheers on their tribute.
- District 1 and 2 are the power houses. They train all teenagers for the games.
So the games start. Katniss is basically on her own. She spies Peeta, who has teamed up with some of the other tributes, and Katniss immediately feels betrayed. She eventually finds Peeta, who is near death and camouflaged in the mud. She rescues him, nurses him back to health in a cold, dark cave. This is where the love connection happens, and because Katniss knows all of Panem is watching, she plays it up. She wants to be the favored tribute. The one everyone cheers for. And it works.
Eventually, Peeta and Katniss are the last two. But, as you read earlier, only one wins. Will Peeta's undying love for Katniss overcome his will to live? Will Katniss have the strength to kill Peeta?
This is where I stop. Can you feel the suspense? There's soooo many twists and turns in this plot! Oh, and I forgot to mention that Gale, Katniss's hunting partner, also has a little thing for her. There's love, violence, action, and suspense. Chicks and dudes will love this book. The moment I read the last sentence, I immediately grabbed my car keys, and went out in search of Book 2, Catching Fire.
The best part about reading The Hunger Games is that I got to relive each scene with my student. He would ask me everyday where I was in the book until I had finished it. He became one of my favorites (yes, teachers have favorites!), and The Hunger Games was a starting point for him to gain trust in me. We were eventually able to talk about other things, like his grades, attendance, and behavior. This book goes down as one of my all time favorites, not only for the great story it tells, but also for the opportunity it gave me to help out a boy in need of love, attention, and an advocate.