Monday, August 16, 2010

Hunger Games/Catching Fire Review

Eight more days, folks. Eight more days. I'm going crazy waiting for Mockingjay (book three of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins to be released and downloaded to my nook. I secretly keep checking to see if someone makes a mistake and sends it to me too early (although I would be good and keep it to myself). But in preparation for the release I went and re-read Hunger Games and Catching Fire (the first books in the series).

I will admit that this story line sickens me. For those who haven't read it, the premise is that in the future (this is a post-apocalyptic story) there are 12 districts that all answer (serve) The Capitol. Each year a boy and a girl (ages 12-18) are chosen from each district to fight to the death in the Hunger Games. The idea was that it was to remind the districts of a time when they were at war, but it has turned into a mockery and the only people who seem to enjoy it are the people of the Capitol (as their children will never have to be sacrificed to the games). Things seem to run their course until a player with a conscience enters the games and refuses to sacrifice her friend.

That's really all I'm going to say about the plot because I want you to read the books. They are fabulous and well-written. I was kept on the edge of my seat as I watched the story unfold. I feel for these characters and even though Collins doesn't give me a whole lot of descriptors I can see their faces, imagine the way the stand, present themselves and even smile. The world she has created if believable even if I find it frightening and repulsive. Maybe that was her point.

If you care to help me out a bit, I am using the Hunger Games for our homeschool co-op teen reading group next month and am collecting questions to ask to keep the conversation going. What questions would you ask teens (ages 14-18) about these books? This will be our first meeting for the year and most of the kids will not know each other. I think it will be interesting to see what their reaction would be if I were to tell them that in order to get out of the room they have to kill each other. I'll be sure to report back!


  1. I also just reread the books in preparation for Mockinjay's release. Eight more days!

    As for questions, here are some ideas:

    How do you think the Hunger Games reflect on modern society's obsession with reality TV?

    How can one's environment change behavior? How easily can a passive, nonviolent person be transformed when it's a question of their survival?

    If you were Katniss, would you volunteer to take your sister/brother/friend's place in the Games? Why or why not?

    Do you think such a dystopia could exist in North America one day? What factors would contribute to it?

  2. These are fanstic! I did have a questions similar to the first one in the parallel between the broadcast of the Hunger Games and today's reality TV and what the major differences were.