From the Stacks: Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” Trilogy

Reviews of books borrowed from the stacks of the Carlsbad City Library, with links to the online catalog

Fantasy, adventure, young adult

Escape experience
Post-apocalyptic Appalachia, in an impoverished coal mining town, whose residents struggle to eke out an existence that’s barely a step above death by starvation and exposure to the elements. But hardship has honed you into a strong, self-reliant individual. You hunt; you can shoot a squirrel clean in the eye a hundred yards away with a simple bow and arrow. You gather; you know what’s edible and what’s not, what’s medicinal and what’s poisonous. You fish with your bare hands if need be. You run like a deer, climb like a monkey and possess the senses and cunning of a wolf.

Read this if you’re into…
Defending the underdog and rebelling against the status quo (when there’s reasonable cause). As a tiny tot, you zipped around the house with a towel pinned to your shoulders like some out-of-control superhero enacting a Walter Mitty fantasy. You shot at banana trees (or other large immovable objects) with your little bow and arrow – AND you egged on all the neighborhood kids to play along. You have the ability to incite the most indolent sluggard to action and to persuade the most ambivalent to passionate devotion to a cause. In short, you are a natural-born leader with no shortage of imagination.

Three quarters of a century have elapsed since a failed rebellion to overthrow a corrupt government. To commemorate the event and to quell all hopes of another revolution, 12- to 18-year-olds enter a lottery every year (remember Shirley Jackson’s "The Lottery"?). One boy and one girl from each of 12 districts are selected to battle each other to the death. There can only be one victor, one survivor. When Katniss Everdeen’s 12-year-old sister Prim is selected to represent District 12, Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place in the Hunger Games and provides the spark to new rebellion.

Pace: Reading this is like walking in a pair of…
Really soft, supple leather boots, perfectly broken in and molded to your foot, your ankle, your leg. You’re agile, silent, stealthy, stalking through a forest teaming with life. You’re aware of every scent, every sound, every movement. You are… Xena, Warrior Princess! Or Keira Knightley as a tough, Pictish Guinevere.


Cast of characters

  • Katniss Everdeen – Courageous, self-reliant, defiant, strong-willed yet soft-hearted, 16-year-old Katniss readily places her life at risk to save her younger sister and unfailingly, unflinchingly positions herself to defend the weak and the weary, the downtrodden and the oppressed.
  • Peeta Mellark – Fellow competitor/gamer from District 12, loyal, gentle, sweet Peeta softens Katniss’ abrasive edges.
  • Haymitch Abernathy – Scarred, sarcastic inebriate with a heart of gold, Haymitch mentors Katniss through the Hunger Games and ultimately through the Game of Life.
  • Gale Hawthorne – Katniss’ hunting partner and BFF, Gale cares for Katniss’ family in her absence during the Hunger Games.


Books in the series  

  1. The Hunger Games   
  2. Catching Fire  
  3. Mockingjay 


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Deanne Goodman (Editor) August 31, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Nice review! I loved the movie and now want to read the books.
Gerardeen Santiago August 31, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Thanks -- I couldn't put these books down and ripped through them in 3 days flat! :)


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