The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
* * * * * Stars
Katniss lives in district 12 (the coal mining district) of Panem – a nation built on the ruins of North America. Every year, 2 teens (ages 12 – 18) are chosen by lottery from each district to compete in the Hunger Games – a specially staged battle to the death where only one winner emerges. When Katniss’ younger sister Prim is chosen, Katniss volunteers to take her place. The other teen chosen from district 12 is Peeta, the baker’s son, whose kindness once saved Katniss’ life. They train together with the knowledge that there will come a point where one must kill the other – if they both should survive so long.
I seriously can’t wait to read the next book in this trilogy. Catching Fire is coming out in September of 2009, and I hope it’s as excellent as Hunger Games. Katniss is brave and fiery (although a bit slow when it comes to recognizing Peeta’s feelings for her) – and I love her name. She’s intelligent and capable, too, which makes for a great strong female character. She and Peeta are caught up in something much larger than just the Hunger Games, they’ve likely (through their actions) become heroes in the eyes of others who would rebel against the Capitol that’s made sure to keep its citizens in line through poverty and violence. This is an excellent dystopian novel.