Intro: You’ve probably heard lots of people talking about this series, especially lately, now that the movie has come out today. You maybe even picked up the books and put them back down thinking they might just be a little too young for you. Admittedly, they are ideal for tweens and teens but honestly, they are ‘unputdownable’. If you’ve read the first book you’ll know it’s almost impossible to stop reading.
Title: The Hunger Games Trilogy
Author: Suzanne Collins
Review: This series provides twists, turns, and edge-of-your-seat oh-my-gosh moments over and over again. What I love most about this series is that there’s a heroine: A strong young female main character named Katniss Everdeen. Tween and teen girls can never have too many of these in their lives! You’ll be cheering for Katniss right from the start – it’s hard not to. She’s so strong, so believable and so fascinating because of the world in which she lives. The times are different – everyone in her District is hungry or starving so she bends the rules and hunts for food to keep her family safe. She’s taken care of her mother and younger sister ever since her father died and has had to grow up quickly. While life is tough, it is all they know. The Hunger Games are explained as a way that the people in the Districts are controlled. The games are a way their “government” rules their people – by creating fear as a reminder that the people in the Districts are just playthings that they can do whatever they want with, that they have no control over their own lives, that if they ever go against the rules, there will be serious consequences. When the games begin, and Katniss’ young sister is chosen, she bravely volunteers as “tribute” to take her place. Katniss begins her journey right away and the whirlwind of events from this point don’t slow for the remainder of the series. Her world opens, her perspective on everything changes and she learns that she must not let fear rule her life or the lives of those she loves… or the lives of those in t he Districts. What she accomplishes is amazing.
I would not recommend this book for all tweens or teens. There is a lot of violence and gore and some parents may be a little wary of letting them read this. I do trust, however, that by the time a young reader wants to read this book and is mature enough to do so, they will understand that it is, after all, just a story and not a real-life situation. Also, a note to concerned parents, the story does say how wrong the whole situation is and the characters in the book try very hard to right the wrongs. While dark and violent, this story is very uplifting – you’ll be cheering for Katniss!
Conclusion: A great read that I can see easily becoming added to a teacher’s curriculum for all the amazing lessons to be learned for young teens and especially for young girls. The messages of self-confidence, being brave despite being afraid, of friendship, of family, of knowing who you are, of growing up, of the love of a family, and how people are strong as one and yet stronger when they work together. All these lessons are wrapped up in an amazingly gripping story that leaves readers satisfied when it all comes to an end. This series is recommended.
About the Author: Since 1991, Suzanne Collins has been busy writing for children’s television. She has worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. For preschool viewers, she penned multiple stories for the Emmy-nominated Little Bear and Oswald. She also co-wrote the critically acclaimed Rankin/?Bass Christmas special, Santa, Baby! Most recently she was the Head Writer for Scholastic Entertainment’s Clifford’s Puppy Days,and a freelancer on Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!
While working on a Kids WB show called Generation O! she met children’s author James Proimos, who talked her into giving children’s books a try.
Thinking one day about Alice in Wonderland, she was struck by how pastoral the setting must seem to kids who, like her own, lived in urban surroundings. In New York City, you’re much more likely to fall down a manhole than a rabbit hole and, if you do, you’re not going to find a tea party. What you might find…? Well, that’s the story of Gregor the Overlander, the first book in her five-part fantasy/?war series, The Underland Chronicles.
Her next series, The Hunger Games Trilogy, is an international bestseller.
At present, Suzanne is at work on a picture book with James Proimos.
She currently lives in Connecticut with her family and a pair of feral kittens they adopted from their backyard. (Excerpt from http://www.suzannecollinsbooks.com/bio.htm)
To Purchase: Visit Indigo Online for all things Hunger Games!
Discussion Questions: Will you be watching the movie being released today? Will your children? What were your thoughts on Katniss as a heroine? Did you find the violence to be too much? What do you think about the message that says authority isn’t always right? If you were in Katniss’ situation, do you think you would have ever been able to go through what she did? Remember: Don’t give anything away to those who haven’t yet read the books!