The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins came out a few months ago, and so far one of my favorite books of the year. I had read Collin's other works, the Underland Chronicles, but she's perfected her style in The Hunger Games. The suspense and life or death plot, combined with the narrative of Katniss, a tough but likable heroine, make this novel unable to put down after the first chapter.
The Hunger Games takes place in a dystopian future where the United States had become Panem, split into twelve districts. Life is hard in District 12, and Katniss, 16, (along with maybe more than friend Gale, hunt on forbidden land to save her mother and sister from starvation. As a punishment to the Districts after they tried to rebel a while back, the Capitol randomly chooses one boy and one girl from each of the districts on Reaping Day to compete in a survival competition. Only one kid leaves the arena alive. And its all televised. When Prim, Katniss's twelve year old sister's name is called, Katniss volunteers to take her place without hesitation. She's chosen along with Peeta, a baker's boy. To survive in the game it helps to gain sponsors-and the way to do that is to win the heart of the crowd. So the trainer's of District 12 come up with a plan. Make it seem as if Peeta and Katniss are in love with each other.
"This is a story about the struggle to remain human in spite of the efforts from others to take it away. Katniss performs her own rebellion in deliciously clever ways but at the same time, you still feel her pain and anger towards the unjustness of it all. "The Hunger Games" is a fascinating look into what "entertainment" can mean, reconciling the need for survival and morality, and the questions of government and community." -Grace Chen (off of amazon.com)
And yes, like a lot of recent teen novels (I'm looking at you Twilight) there's a love triangle in this book. (I'm so team Peeta!) I can't wait for the second in a planned trilogy, Catching Fire, to come out later this year.
Check out this review from Stephenie Meyer:
People often ask me for reading suggestions, and I'm always happy to share because books are exciting things to me. My latest excitement is this: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I was so obsessed with this book I had to take it with me out to dinner and hide it under the edge of the table so I wouldn't have to stop reading. The story kept me up for several nights in a row, because even after I was finished, I just lay in bed wide awake thinking about it. I've been recommending it to total strangers in Target. And now to everyone who reads my website. The Hunger Games is amazing.
And, because I totally love it when they make little trailers for novels, here's a cool one I found on youtube.