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Kid Konnection: The Hunger Games

March 31, 2012

The country of Panem is comprised of twelve districts surrounding the Capitol.  The districts are generally poor and work to supply the Capitol with food and other products.  In order to keep them in line, the Capitol requires each district to select two tributes – one boy and one girl – to participate in the annual Hunger Games.  The Hunger Games is a brutal contest that forces tributes to fight to the death on live TV.  When twelve year old Primrose Everdeen’s name is chosen to represent District 12, her sister Katniss volunteers to take her place.

I finally read The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, and I’m sad to say I didn’t love it.  I’m not sure if it’s because I waited so long to read it and knew much of the premise or because I’d read Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami, but the story didn’t feel fresh or exciting to me.  In fact, I thought it dragged in a few places.

I did appreciate the social commentary explored in the book.  The districts are kept poor and forced to produce something – coal, produce, food, etc. for the wealthy politicians in the Capitol.  I also appreciate the fact that Katniss is such a strong female protagonist.

I get the appeal of The Hunger Games for young readers and like that it’s a book both males and females can enjoy, but for me it was just an okay read.  I’m not sure if I’ll continue with the trilogy or not, but I do plan to see the movie.

For more children’s books reviews, go to Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. Amritorupa Kanjilal permalink
    March 31, 2012 5:00 am

    I just read Hunger Games… after a friend told me it was better than harry potter. It isn’t. I mean collins is not a better writer than rowling… but i did love that it had a non mary sue strong protagonist.

  2. March 31, 2012 7:46 am

    My son and grandson enjoyed it. I haven’t been in a hurry to read it. Maybe this is because I’m not a lover of reality shows. “Fight to the death?” Brutal. Of course, I read brutal topics. Just not on a hot run for The Hunger Games.

  3. bookingmama permalink
    March 31, 2012 7:50 am

    I know I enjoyed this one more than you did, but I get what you’re saying. I’ll be anxious to hear what you think about the movie.

  4. March 31, 2012 9:10 am

    I think you just waited to long to read it, and now the hype is over the moon!

  5. March 31, 2012 9:23 am

    Many of my female relatives have read the series (young and not so young). Opinions vary as widely as age in this group. I still haven’t been tempted but, like you said, I get why it’s popular. I may see the movie via netflix.

  6. Beth F permalink
    March 31, 2012 9:27 am

    I don’t think this is your kind of book. I enjoyed it — it was my favorite of the three. I know that a lot of my reaction to the book was that I read it with my niece, which is always fun and enhances the experience. I hope to get to the movie this week.

  7. March 31, 2012 9:34 am

    I really appreciate this review. The end of this book had me racing for the next one (which was my favorite of the series), but it took me some time to warm up to the book. I haven’t read much dystopian fiction and chalked it up to that. I think I’m going to look into Battle Royale. It must be wonderful if it was better than Hunger Games.

  8. March 31, 2012 10:12 am

    Funny I just read it this week and devoured it in two days. I didn’t expect to enjoy it so was pleasantly surprised that I totally got into to it. I am not normally a fan of dystopian fiction but I am now anxious to read the next book in the series. Now I want to see the movie.

  9. March 31, 2012 10:25 am

    I really liked this one so I’m sad you didn’t like it. It’s been a while, so I can’t remember if I preferred the other 2 books, but I would say give the 2nd one a shot 🙂

  10. March 31, 2012 10:41 am

    That happens to me all the time….when there is tons of hype about something–movies or books–when I read it or see it, I am always disappointed.
    I have read all three. I liked them. The third was my least favorite. If it wasn’t for you, I’d just stop now. There’s not enough time to read all the books we want so it’s okay to leave this series behind.

  11. stacijoreads permalink
    March 31, 2012 10:50 am

    Hey, it’s a good thing that we all don’t love the same thing!! I have to read Battle Royale someday soon!!!

  12. March 31, 2012 10:52 am

    Sorry you didn’t like it Kathy. I found the beginning slow but once I got into it I was hooked. I still have to read the other two books yet though.

  13. March 31, 2012 11:07 am

    I read this one before all the hype and it made me discover the dystopian genre, which I think is a genre you either love or not. I have read other reviews in the past comparing it to Battle Royale, which they found better.

  14. March 31, 2012 12:39 pm

    I find that a book loses its appeal when I know literally everything about it. I hope you enjoy the movie better though.

  15. Amy @ My Friend Amy permalink
    March 31, 2012 1:33 pm

    aw, I’m sad you didn’t love it, BUT I’m glad you at least finally read it. 🙂

  16. March 31, 2012 2:05 pm

    You probably didn’t like it because it’s just not your genre or type of book. I loved it because this is exactly the kind of stuff I read as a teen. I always picked up the science fiction, or what is now called dystopian, book first. So I had no trouble relating to and enjoying it. And I plan on seeing the movie too.

  17. March 31, 2012 3:22 pm

    Hi…Nice review. Bummer that it didn’t grab you but I can see why it would not grab everyone. After a pretty vast reading fast, I pretty much enjoyed the book from beginning to end. I don’t think I realized it was young adult reading as I don’t read young adult very often. I think I am glad that it was because if it ended up like The Road, I would have put it down. Too much of a wuss in my old age. I am already into the second book. I have no idea where the story is going or the premise for the sequels. I hope I stay interested, I hate when a series fizzles out. Nice to post a review on the same day as you!

  18. March 31, 2012 4:57 pm

    I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it! It’s still one of my favorite YA novels, but I can see why you felt it dragged a little. I read most of Battle Royale a few years ago but for some reason never finished it. I should probably do that!

  19. March 31, 2012 8:15 pm

    My 9-year-old neighbor is planning to read this series but I asked her mom if she knew anything about the plot. IT seemed a bit heavy for a 9-year-old to me … but I tend to be out of touch with “the kids.”

  20. April 1, 2012 5:45 am

    If it was just ok for you then do not read more. Yes I did like book 1, book 2 was good but just a repetition and book 3 sucked!

  21. April 1, 2012 8:22 am

    I actually just finished reading The Hunger Games a few minutes ago when I read your post. And to be honest, I didn’t get the slightest bittersweet feeling I usually get when I read “end of book one.” Idk why but I guess I had raised my expectations too high for this book, since everyone’s been ranting about how marvelous the plot was. But to me, it wasn’t much of a page-turner nor a thrilling one. It was predictable. Especially in the way they announced how the rules have been changed. And the Katniss and Peeta thing? Err, wasn’t much of a quixotic lovey dovey either. A lot of people will be mad at me for saying all these, but I’m just being honest. Or maybe it’s because I’ve already read many fascinating books and this one just didn’t make the cut for me. And I wished Katniss wasn’t narrating the story coz I would’ve wanted to delve into Peeta’s thoughts as well. Or Gale’s. How did he feel while watching his only bestfriend fight for her life and fall for another guy? But everything evolved around Katniss’ perception that it has blocked out the significance of other characters. It pains me to say that I bought the three books, so I have no choice but to finish it all. But hey, maybe there’ll be improvements in the next books.

  22. redladysreadingroom permalink
    April 1, 2012 8:12 pm

    I liked this book the best of the three but didn’t love it. I found The Giver to be much better and less violent and brutal. I had issues with the violence and brutality for such young children reading this book. I think it’s a book to be read with an adult to discuss it and not younger than 12 unless they are very mature and I still hesitate any younger. My son is 13 and started the book but is not hooked.

  23. April 2, 2012 12:27 pm

    I’ve seen some tepid reviews of The Hunger Games that the bloggers attributed to having read Battle Royale first. A friend in our book club just loaned Battle Royale to my husband, who is a huge Hunger Games fan. I can’t wait to see how he compares the two.

  24. talesofwhimsy permalink
    April 2, 2012 2:09 pm

    SO sorry that you didn’t love it.
    For me (it’s been a few years since I read it) I found I immediately connected to Katniss. I have a younger sister and I could totally connect to her sense of responsibility and the desire to take care of her family.

  25. April 2, 2012 6:20 pm

    i’m shocked to hear that you didn’t like it! i’ll have to read battle royale now though! i haven’t read it yet, so the idea was completely new to me and that did add to me enjoying the series. i don’t want to ruin it for you but, book 1 was my favorite and i thought it went down hill from there. hopefully it’ll be different for you if you do continue to read the series, which i think you should if they make more movies.

  26. April 2, 2012 10:43 pm

    I loved the movie, but don’t plan on reading the series. Sometome too much hype can ruin a book even before you read the first page.

  27. April 3, 2012 9:48 am

    I’ve definitely heard that those who read Battle Royale had a difficult time enjoying The Hunger Games because of similarities. I’ve not read Battle Royale, but I think I plan to read it this summer. I did enjoy the movie, and the conclusion of the trilogy didn’t hit the mark for me, but I did like the second installment.

  28. April 3, 2012 9:50 am

    I tried to switch back to my old email address, but it doesn’t look like WP is allowing comments via that route 😦 Anyway, I’ve heard people don’t enjoy The Hunger Games if they’ve already read Battle Royale. I plan to read Battle Royale this summer, so I’m looking forward to comparing the two. I enjoyed the film, and I’m looking forward to the follow up movies. The second installment of the books was fun to read, but I didn’t like the final conclusion to the trilogy.

  29. escapingjourney permalink
    April 12, 2012 3:03 pm

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy this one more. I’ve heard from several that also read Battle Royale that they weren’t impressed with these…so I bet that had something to do with it. I understand the stories are very similar.

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