elissa's Reviews > The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
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Dec 04, 13

bookshelves: youngadult, 2008favorites, sciencefiction, survival_stories, 00s_re-readswith_j, my_00s_reads, 10s_re-readswith_l
Recommended to elissa by: 2008 buzz
Recommended for: anyone (age 12+) who likes dystopic SF, and can handle some violence
Read in May, 2008, read count: 4

I LOVE THIS BOOK! I've said to a few people that if I wasn't married, I'd have to marry this book. :) I read the 400 page ARC in a less-than-24-hour time period (so quickly that it was never even on my "currently reading" shelf), which I've only done before with HP books, and I've just officially put the first book on my 2008 favorites shelf. I feel pretty safe in saying that if this isn't still my favorite book of the year when next January rolls around, that I'll eat a hat. As soon as I finished reading it, I turned around and read it a 2nd time, which I've never done before in my life. I loved all of Collins' GREGOR books, and think she's a wonderful writer, but she's ratcheted it up to another level with this one. Even though it's the first in a trilogy, this one definitely stands alone, and I'm not sure how she can keep it up for another 2 books, but I suppose it's possible (think: THE GIVER, although I loved GATHERING BLUE, and liked THE MESSENGER--HUNGER GAMES is much more brutal than THE GIVER, though). It's got some very meaty issues to chew on, not the least of which is reality TV taken to extremes. There's a chaste and unresolved romance (think: TWILIGHT, but I don't think I will make it past the first in that series--HUNGER GAMES has much more action, more of a plot, lots of well-developed secondary characters, as well as extremely likeable main characters. I will miss Katniss until I can read about her again.). What more could you possibly ask for out of a book? It doesn't actually come out until October 2008, but if you can get your hands on an ARC, definitely do! I think that the violence in this will be easier for kids to take, since they probably won't see it quite as clearly as an adult will. None of it is particularly graphic, but it is definitely brutal. This is on the edge of too dark for me, which is my favorite kind of book. There aren't many writers who can push it right to the edge for me without going over (Zusak comes to mind immediately), but Collins is definitely one of them. Another book that I loved, and think of to compare this to is HOUSE OF THE SCORPION, but that fell apart slightly at the end for me. HUNGER GAMES didn't lack anything at all for me. OK, I'll stop gushing. I may have to re-write this review when I get some perspective. (2012: Obviously, I never did rewrite it, and this is my most-"liked" review :)

My 10 1/2 yr old son asked to read this with me, so I read it for the 3rd time with him in Oct 2008. Still my definite favorite book of the year, but all the typos in the finished book were pretty disappointing. Still, it's my choice for just about any award out there, come January, including the JHUNT.

Update May 2009: I am dying because the CATCHING FIRE ARC has just been released, and people are saying it's at least as good at HG. I've had 2 teenaged boys at my library read this on my recommendation, and both of them came back asking me for more books like it (really there isn't anything). One of them has pre-ordered CATCHING FIRE on Amazon.

May-June 2011: I'm reading this for the 4th time, with my younger son, who's finishing up 5th grade. Still as good as ever!! Can't wait for the movie!!

Update 2012: Between them, HG and CATCHING FIRE were the pinnacle of my 20-yr career as a YA librarian! I've seen the movie twice so far, and definitely liked it better the 2nd time, when it didn't have to try to be my favorite book. :)

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Comments (showing 1-50 of 65) (65 new)


Monica Edinger I agree. It is definitely one of the best I've read so far this year. Brutal is perhaps a good descriptor, but not gory. I like your comparison to Zusak and Farmer. I read the first two Gregor books, but didn't love them. Now I feel I should take another look!


message 2: by elissa (last edited May 04, 2008 03:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

elissa Diana~I'm very addicted to this website, so that's where the quantity comes from. I love reading your reviews on here! Our taste is so similar (88%, with over 500 books the same), that it's great to see what you're reading and what you think, especially since you have access to more new books than I do (I think you also read more quickly than I do, too). So it sounds like you like HUNGER GAMES slightly more than LITTLE BROTHER?

Monica~Well, I DID love the first 2 Gregor books, but I don't think the writing is quite as good as HUNGER GAMES. The characters are what make the Gregor books for me (and maybe the description of the Underland), and I also loved being able to talk with my then 8-yr-old son about biological warfare in an age-appropriate way (I think that was with the 3rd book). The last 2 in that series were not as good as the first 3, but worth reading to see what happened.


elissa I'm looking forward to LITTLE BROTHER, too! Have you read other books by Doctorow? I haven't read anything of his before.


elissa VERY interesting about SF being on the rise! I read way more SF as a teen than I did fantasy, but have been reading more fantasy for the past 10 years or so, because there have been so many great fantasy novels (and also ones that I missed out on when I was a teen). Maybe fantasy ideas have dried out somewhat for the next little while? Is that Dunkle's first SF? Have you read her fantasy? I haven't read anything of hers, but keep meaning to read THE HOLLOW KINGDOM.


elissa Nope, haven't read SKIN HUNGER, and I'm not sure that I want to until the next one is out, since it's supposed to have such a cliffhanger ending! Good to know about the sequels to HOLLOW KINGDOM.


June Elissa do you still have the arc?


elissa Yup, got it. I'm actually reading it AGAIN! I've never turned around and read a book again, but I couldn't help myself. Do you want to come get it soon? I can take it back to Wendy when you're done with it. I'd love to hear what you think about it.


June It sounds fantastic and I would love to read it let me know when I should stop by and pick it up. Thanks! -June


Chanelle Russ If you weren't married >.<


elissa Not sure what >.< means, even though I looked through an entire list of emoticons. The closest one I could find was >,< which said that it meant "Mad".


message 11: by Pam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pam Lindsay I felt the same way--read it in less than 24 hours and then had to get the second book. A fascinating twist on the future, and I loved the interactions of the characters. Great book.


elissa I can't wait until Mockingjay, Pam! Thanks for your comment!


Suzie Over the weekend, I downloaded a sample on my Kindle ... woo hoo. However, after reading your review ... I may just purchase the book :)


elissa Let me know what you think if you read it, Suzie!


message 15: by Haley (new)

Haley I had it downloaded on my nook because it was recommended to me. Then a friend started reading it and i was forced to finally read it. It took me about 5hrs. I'm a fast reader.


elissa That is fast, Haley!


Alexandria "if I wasn't married, I'd have to marry this book. :)" -Elissa

HAHAHAHA I laughed out loud. Niceeeee Oneee!


elissa Thanks, Alexandria! I'm happy any time I'm able to make someone laugh. :)


Colleen Vargo wow! will have to read this.


elissa Hope you like it, C! I know you're not a huge fan of science fiction, but maybe this one will work for you.


message 21: by Andrea (new)

Andrea i have read all three and i totally agree with u!


Larissa I totally agree! I literaly was thinking the same thing! The Hunger Games is In my top three series!


Garrett Ley I'd say I agree! The book was addictive and difficult to put down. Although I'm used to reading books for class that are very Dickens-y and use a lot of crazy language, this book felt fun, modern, and action-packed. Fun, maybe, not in the sense of the actual book but for the experience I had while reading it!


message 24: by elissa (last edited Oct 21, 2011 06:52PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

elissa Yes, I definitely think that HG is fun to read, even with the sad and difficult subject matter. It's always fun for me to get so caught up in a book that I can't put it down! Glad that you all agree with my review. :)


message 25: by Tara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tara Froelich I totally agree with you, The Hunger Games books were amazing!!!


elissa Glad you agree, Tara! :)


Bailee How do u read a book on here?


elissa Hi Bailee. I'm not sure what your question is. You don't read a book ON goodreads. You read the book however you usually read books. It looks like you already read THE HUNGER GAMES. How did you read it?


message 29: by Alex (new) - rated it 3 stars

Alex Fontanetta I respect your opinion but the fact that you have compared it to the Harry Potter series has made me feel all the more intensely about my opinion of it. It, like HP, is a fascinating plot but is extremely poorly written. The author lacks even the most basic of writing skills. Imagine how amazing of a book it could have been if this plot were written and developed by an author who is truly skilled at writing literature.


elissa I completely disagree with you, but you're entitled to your opinion...


Brett Baker Very good review. I'll be looking to you for book suggestions.


elissa Thanks so much for your comment, Brett! I appreciate it.


Mythsa "I've had 2 teenaged boys at my library read this on my recommendation, and both of them came back asking me for more books like it (really there isn't anything). " Have you tried Enders Game by Orson Scott Card?


message 34: by elissa (last edited Mar 31, 2012 05:16AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

elissa Ender's Game is also one of my favorite books, but I couldn't sell it to the Hunger Games lovers. Possibly because they thought it was too long? I'm not sure. Hard to remember the exact reasons this many years later.


Kayce I love the trilogy! I read the whole trilogy in two and half days. What can i say? They are good books and im a fast reader. (2-2.5 pages a min( dont ask how i know that) :) i live to see the day where someone says gale is better than peeta and get away with it. Go peeta and Katniss!!


elissa Kayce~You're definitely a fast reader! I only read about a page a minute. :)


message 37: by Ploy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ploy Ah. Age 12+? I think it's every age, as long as you don't get nightmares. I can't put this book down until I finished it, which took me some hours. And I'm twelve :)


elissa Hi Ploy. Glad you enjoyed it! I know 4th graders who have read and enjoyed it, but I still stick by my recommendation IN GENERAL. There are exceptions to every rule. :) I read it to both of my children when they were in 5th grade. They asked to have it read to them, because they know it's my favorite book. If a kid is reading it by themselves I'm more comfortable with 6th grade and up.


Barbara Kinsky I have bought The Hunger Games book only today.i bought it with a lot of trepidation as its not really the genre I read, but here goes.i hope I enjoy it and it as good as you all make it out to be.


elissa I hope that you like it, Barbara! Thanks for writing to let me know that you're going to give it a try. Let me know how it goes...


message 41: by Ploy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ploy elissa wrote: "Hi Ploy. Glad you enjoyed it! I know 4th graders who have read and enjoyed it, but I still stick by my recommendation IN GENERAL. There are exceptions to every rule. :) I read it to both of my..."

I'm in seventh grade :) But I'm twelve and I enjoyed the Hunger Games of course :D


Andrea Why does everyone write such long reviews and comments?


Kaylee Edson Hunger Games was the best book ever!!!! I'm only 11 and wow my fav book in the entire universe!!!!!! Two of my friends read the first book and hated it!!! CRAZEY!!!!!!


elissa Andrea~Most of my reviews are much shorter than this one. I just love this book so much that I had to gush about it a bunch.

Kaylee~I don't understand how anybody can hate this book, but to each his own I guess! :)


message 45: by Gabe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gabe McDill Best book and movie ever.


message 46: by Erik (new) - rated it 5 stars

Erik Estrada All I have to say is it was a freaking amazing book.


elissa Best book, yes. Freaking amazing book, yes. :)


message 48: by Jana (new) - rated it 1 star

Jana I dislike this book but what I wanted to say was that my middle name is else!!!


elissa well, nice to meet you jana else...


Samantha I would probably say she is a good writer. Definitely not a great one. I know there are many people who's believe she is, and that's fine. Young adult readers would love her, because of the violence and whatnot. But Collins to me just isn't good enough. Reading the book as if I were a young adult, makes it seem like a fantastic storyline. But as an adult, it's just for the shock value.


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