Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Dystopian Fiction/YA Fantasy
Grade Level: 10 +
This is the second time around reading this one, and it still packs a great big punch. Meaning, I still bawl like a baby from cover to cover. I had to reread this for my YA literature class. The below review is what I had to turn in. If you have questions as to plot, let me know. Most of the reviews you will be seeing in the next couple of months come from this class and as such, do not include a plot summary (since my professor is adamant that that not occur), so if you have questions, do not be afraid to ask!!! I'll answer anything you need to know.
The Hunger Games is an intense emotional roller coaster. It falls under fantasy, sub-category: dystopian fiction. Dystopian fiction is fiction of our own world in the future is a far more dysfunctional state than it currently is. The Hunger Games, for me at least, is so very intense, simply because it does not seem to be all that unreasonable of a future. Collins has a tremendous talent in pulling one into the story and keeping you there. One even roots for the characters one knows will die, simply because one cannot help it. Katniss is a strong woman, qualifying for that title not by chronology but through her experiences. District 12 is not a place for the soft-hearted to grow up; well, the soft-hearted would never actually “grow up.” Katniss is the focus of the story, although even the “minor” characters are strong characters. Katniss is not perfect though. She is very easy to relate to in her imperfections. She does what it takes to take care of those she loves, and beyond that, she doesn’t think all that much of anything else, simply because she doesn’t have time, not because she is uncaring. What teenager wouldn’t love to feel like they can truly stand out as a hero even with all their flaws? What adult for that matter?
Dystopian fiction is only truly successful if it seems plausible. Too far off the mark, does not illicit the type of emotional response that is one of its goals. Collins achieves this mostly in the development of her characters. Even when a character is an obvious foil for Katniss, and one knows they will meet a terrible end, one cannot help but feel attached to them, like in the character of Rue from District 11. There are a couple of moments in the plot that require a huge leap on the part of the reader, but since Collins has already drawn in through the development of the characters, a reader can almost pass those by and not notice them. It takes multiple readings to really notice those moments that don’t seem as plausible as the rest of the story. Collins’ use of flashbacks and memory are artful in their placement. She has even found a way to tell the audience what really happened and simultaneously say what the character actually reveals. Seeing the duality in what happened and what a character is willing to reveal is very telling of the character themselves. The plot generally flows very well, although things move quite rapidly. However, instead of being a drawback, the fast flow simulates the desperation of all the characters.