My first fiction read of 2012 is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. As I read this book, intended for teens, I remembered why I used to love fiction so well. I love to escape, even if it is to a barbaric, unimaginable world.
The world of The Hunger Games is just such a world. Where North America used to be, there exists a country called Panem, where a beautiful, idyllic Capital is served by twelve outlying districts. Life is anything from idyllic in the districts, especially in District 12 where the protagonist of this book, Katniss Everdeen comes from. District 12 is in the impoverished area once known as Appalachia, and the major export of the area is coal. Katniss’ father was a coal miner, but since he was killed in a mine collapse, Katniss has had to take care of her mother and younger sister.
As a reminder of their primacy over the districts, each year the Capital requires one boy and one girl to be chosen from each district to travel to the Capital, be wined and dined, styled and trained, and placed into an Arena to fight to the death. Katniss becomes her district’s Tribute (as the competitors in these Hunger Games are called) when she selflessly offers herself in place of her sister, who is twelve years old and really only a child, upon whom the lottery has fallen.
Through plot twists and turns, I couldn’t put this book down– I read as I waited for water to boil for dinner, I read as my husband brushed his teeth before bed, I read the entire evening before the book was due. Despite the awful situation, there are laughs along with the tears in this story, and I couldn’t get enough of either. This book is the first in a trilogy, and I hope to be telling you about the remaining two books before the year is out.