Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Scholastic Press (2008)

ISBN 9780439023481

A tale of the dystopia once known as North America is now a nation called Panem, with a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is the center of control and keeps the districts in line by forcing them to participate in the Hunger Games, an annual fight-to-the-death  broadcast as entertainment on live television. One boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and sixteen are selected by lottery to play. The winner brings favor back the home district – but there can only be ONE winner. The Capitol continues this annual slaughter of children as a means of oppression and fearful compliance within the districts, which are necessary to provide the Capitol with the natural resources it needs to continue to thrive. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, accepts it as a death sentence when she takes her younger sister’s spot and is forced to represent her impoverished district in the Games. Katniss is skilled in survival techniques, but has not truly killed before. Katniss must survive and keep her humanity and spirit – and possible love – alive at the same time.

This is the kind of story that takes off and brings readers back for the 2nd and 3rd installment pretty fast!

Quantitative: Lexile Level 810; ATOS: 5.3

Qualitative: Middle Grades and up (6-12). This story does contain some violence but the themes of survival, young love, family, set against the dystopic setting of suffering and oppression of the masses by a few of the privileged, hooks readers middle school age and older. The writing is skillful and it is a very entertaining story for anyone who appreciates an unlikely heroine.

Content Area: English

Common Core Standards: RI.8.2, RI.8.3, RI.8.6, RI.8.7

Additional/Digital Content:

Scholastic support website for teaching units on Hunger Games trilogy:  http://teacher.scholastic.com/resources/hunger-games-for-teachers/

Awards: An ALA Notable Children’s Book for Older Readers (2009),  Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award (2011), New York Times Notable Children’s Book (2008), Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of The Year (2011), Charlotte Award (2010), Horn Book Fanfare (2008), ALA’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2009).

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