From Hugo to War Horse – this winter has been the season of amazing book to movie adaptations. But none may be more anticipated than The Hunger Games – the first story in Suzanne Collins’s thrilling dystopian series about a girl’s quest for survival, and the revolution she unwittingly inspires.
If you haven’t stepped into the arena just yet, I’ll give you the basics! The Hunger Games takes place in Panem, a nation which rose from the ashes of what was once North America. Twelve districts surround the lavish, wealthy Capitol, each specializing in a specific industry and responsible for supplying the nation with product.
The Capitol annually hosts the Hunger Games, a nationally televised arena event during which twenty-four Tributes between the ages of twelve and eighteen must brutally fight each other to the death. The names of one boy and one girl are chosen at random from each of the twelve districts during a reaping ceremony. Twenty-four Tributes enter, but only one can leave.
In District Twelve, sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen struggles to care for her family while living in the poorest section of Panem. When her sister’s name is pulled from the lottery, Katniss volunteers to take her place as a Tribute. In order to survive, Katniss must choose between ruthlessness or compassion, and weigh the cost of losing her life versus losing her humanity.
The Hunger Games is a definite page-turner for young adult and grown up readers alike. Katniss is a strong female character, exuding self-reliance and bravery. I dare you to put this book down once you flip the first page!
And for those of you who are already acquainted with Katniss, Peeta, and the world of Panem, here are some recommendations of similar YA books that may pique your interest!
Epidemics, floods, droughts—for 16-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and mysterious “Sweepers” clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she’s rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she realizes she’ll never make it on her own. Even as Lucy joins Aidan’s band of survivors, however, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. They’ve discovered something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.
The horrifying, flesh-eating water horses of Thisby Island are the fastest creatures on four legs, but to catch and ride one takes more courage and skill than most of the island’s men can muster. Every year, those who dare ride the water horses in a violent, chaotic race that ends with a tidy sum for the winner and more than a few dead among the losers. Nineteen-year-old horse trainer Sean Kendrick is certain that he will win his fifth straight race this year, but the face of the competition has just changed. Along with glory-hungry men riding killer beasts, Sean will be racing against Puck, an island teen riding her regular horse in an attempt to save her family from ruin. As the stakes get higher and the risks greater, Sean and Puck must do everything they can to win the race—or at least finish it alive.
When Ellie and her friends return from a camping trip, they find their homes burned, their families imprisoned, their country occupied, and a cryptic note telling them to flee to the woods. When the shock wears off, they confront a new reality—where it’s them against an entire army! As the teens face incredible hardships and fight courageous battles, a bond forms between them that helps them conquer impossible odds. Romance, adventure, and ingenuity abound in this unforgettable novel!
This teen sci-fi thriller rides the cutting edge of contemporary fiction, dealing with issues of conformity, identity, and freedom. The setting is the near future, when anyone turning 17 receives a bar code tattoo. It’s an important rite of passage and the be-all and end-all of identity. Everybody cooperates. But what about those who don’t want to be coded? For Kayla, her choice changes everything. She becomes an outcast in high school. Dangerous things happen to her family. And eventually there’s no option but to run for her life!
And check out the official Hunger Games theatrical trailer from Lionsgate here: [youtube]