Dan Schwent's Reviews > The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
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Nov 11, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: homework-from-the-ladies, young-adultery, 2012
Recommended to Dan by: brittany norton
Read from November 11 to 12, 2012

In a dystopian future, Katniss Everdeen takes her younger sister's place as District 12's representative in the Hunger Games, a 24 person free-for-all broadcast on live TV. Will she walk out of the Games alive?

So, I've been avoiding the Hunger Games for years. It has several strikes against it:
1. It's a young adult book
2. The enormous amount of hype
3. The fact that it appears on the surface to be a combination of two Stephen King books, The Long Walk and The Running Man

The other night, I was talking about the Robert Crais book I just finished and my lovely girlfriend asked when I was going to start reading the Hunger Games. Monday, I said. She was making country fried steak that night. What else could I do? Lucky for me, the country fried steak and the Hunger Games were both great.

Suzanne Collins crafted quite a tale in the Hunger Games. From the start, I was impressed with her lead characters. Katniss's personality reflected her background nicely. She wasn't cutesy or even particularly charismatic when the story started and was definitely rough around the edges. Peeta's questionable motivations kept the story moving for much of the book.

The Hunger Games themselves reminded me of the Stephen King books I mentioned earlier and also Lord of the Flies. I never had the safety net feeling that I had while reading other YA fare like Harry Potter. The way the story was told in the present tense gave it an urgent feel that kept me turning pages until my bedtime had come and gone.

Any gripes? Just the usual curmudgeonly ones about it being the first in the series with a lot of dangling threads left to be resolved in the two subsequent books. It was an easy four star read.

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Reading Progress

11/12/2012 page 20
5.0% 5 comments
01/31/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-49 of 49) (49 new)

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Jason Koivu Yeah, the hype thing kept me away from it for awhile too. But it ain't so bad, is it?


Jonathan Good honest review!


Trudi Dan, you have someone making you country fried steak? I'm not even sure I know what that is but it sounds ::insert Homer drooling here:: Lucky man.

Also, while I admit there's dreck in YA, there's loads of startling goodness too. Don't let the label keep you away. There are diamonds in that there rough.

I've seen lots of books being oddly categorized as YA when they weren't even released from their publishers as such. It's a tricky label sometimes. I'm almost certain if King had released The Long Walk today it would be hyped as a YA novel and it's one of the best things he's ever written.

Hope you enjoy the rest of the series!


message 4: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Trudi wrote: "Dan, you have someone making you country fried steak? I'm not even sure I know what that is but it sounds ::insert Homer drooling here:: Lucky man.

Also, while I admit there's dreck in YA, there'..."


I am pretty lucky. Here's a country fried steak recipe:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/country-...


message 5: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Peto If I cook the country fried steak myself, do I have to read the Hunger Games?


message 6: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Jonathan wrote: "If I cook the country fried steak myself, do I have to read the Hunger Games?"

Only if you want to.


message 7: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Peto Based on your review, I may.


Jason I'm not a big fan of YA at all, Jonathan, but it is a fun book. It's tightly written and very well paced.


message 9: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Peto I guess its popularity makes me hesitate. (I have a few other YA books on my to-read list I'll probably tackle first.)


Jason Yeah, I get that. I've found I've been wrong on occasion, though, in attempting to stay away from the popular stuff. Because I think there can be some good stuff in there.

I'm not saying this is groundbreaking literature, mind you. I'm just saying it's an absorbing read.


Jason Sorry, I'm hi-jacking someone's thread. C ya!


message 12: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Peto Hi-jacking a thread? Is that defined in the small print somewhere?


Jason Is there barging-in-on-conversation etiquette?


message 14: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent I'd chime in on YA and etiquette but I'm too busy blazing through the opening chapters of Catching Fire


Jason See?


message 16: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Just mention the Hunger Games and/or country fried steak every once in a while and you'll be good. As you were, gentlemen.


message 17: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Peto Country fried steak... Yum.


message 18: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Jonathan wrote: "Country fried steak... Yum."

That's the spirit!


message 19: by Bill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bill The second book is just as fun as the first, enjoy!


message 20: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Bill wrote: "The second book is just as fun as the first, enjoy!"

Thanks! I've got Friday off so I'm planning on wrapping up the trilogy then.


message 21: by Skip (new) - rated it 4 stars

Skip Yeah, but the third one isn't. As author Kristin Cashore said recently in an interview for the NY Times Book Review: young adult classification doesn't mean anyting, it is either a good story or it isn't (paraphrased).


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

I still can't bring myself to read YA novels. I didn't like them when I was the right age and now it just feels odd to read books that are meant for a younger age group. But I do like gameshow bloodsports...


message 23: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Anthony wrote: "I still can't bring myself to read YA novels. I didn't like them when I was the right age and now it just feels odd to read books that are meant for a younger age group. But I do like gameshow bloo..."

So far, I've been reluctant to read Harry Potter, I am the Messenger, and Unwind because of the YA label and wound up enjoying them all.


message 24: by Bill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bill I was a YA snob but that was forever extinguished when I read this great book: The Book Thief
Why this was labeled as YA is a real shame because it
deserves to be read by all ages.


message 25: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Bill wrote: "I was a YA snob but that was forever extinguished when I read this great book: The Book Thief
Why this was labeled as YA is a real shame because it
deserves to be read by all ages."


I want to read The Book Thief at some point. I need the day to be ten hours longer so I can get more reading in.


Trudi The Book Thief is one of my favorite books of all time and it breaks my heart to think people will avoid it because it has been classified as YA.

I know it's a marketing label so I tend to ignore it, just always on the hunt for my next great read. Heaven knows there's loads of crap being published as "adult fiction". I also remind myself that the YA label is a relatively new invention in publishing. I tend to think that there are many great classics had they been published today, would get the YA label -- To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, The Outsiders, etc.


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

Yeah, it's probably best to ignore the YA label, it's just a matter of there is so much other stuff I'd rather read first. I'm probably also commiting blasphemy to say this, but I never thought the Harry Potter series was that great.


message 28: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 13, 2012 12:02PM) (new)

Trudi said: I tend to think that there are many great classics had they been published today, would get the YA label -- To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies

That's a very good point. I wouldn't consider those anything but adult novels, but they are given to a lot of young adults to read.


Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton I wish the sequels were as good as this first one...they don't seem to quite measure up, though.


message 30: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee I agree with Daniel, I think I went 4 stars, 3 stars, barely 2 stars for the series.


message 31: by Jeff (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeff French I used to teach Grade 8 and I started reading some YA books to discuss them with my students and make recommendations. I was surprised how good some of them were. I read them on a fairly regular basis now. I think I'm going to start 'Blood Red Road' next after hearing so many good things about it.


Jesse My girlfriend bought these books, and they have just been sitting there now that she has finished them. I will have to pick this up now that I have read the review.


message 33: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Jesse wrote: "My girlfriend bought these books, and they have just been sitting there now that she has finished them. I will have to pick this up now that I have read the review."

The first one is definitely worth reading. I'm starting the third tonight but people are warning me that I won't be satisfied with it.


Wendy well, you might not be satisfied with it if you have been told you won't be.

I say, keep an open mind and just take the dreariness and death for what it is. A dystopian book that actually has the balls to not be ridiculous.

IMHO.


message 35: by mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday nice review! i hope you finish the trilogy, will be curious to see what you think of the third one. i think i'm one of the few who thought the quality remained high in all three books. i really liked how uncompromising Mockingjay turned out to be.


Amanda mark wrote: "nice review! i hope you finish the trilogy, will be curious to see what you think of the third one. i think i'm one of the few who thought the quality remained high in all three books. i really lik..."

I'm with you on this one--I was worried that she would pull her punches, but Mockingjay is gritty (for young adult) and I think very realistic in its portrayal of the effects of the Hunger Games on Katniss.


message 37: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Mockingjay's ending was pretty brutal.


Amanda I appreciated that she didn't stick to the Katniss as a big damn hero and happily ever after template of most young adult books.


Sandy Good review Dan. I've avoided 'The Hunger Games' for the same three reasons but after your review I'll add this one to my list.

I also enjoyed Blood Red Road by Moira Young and that one is YA and seems to have been touched by the 'Games' but came without the hype so maybe I was in the same mind as Jonathan

Jonathan wrote: "I guess its popularity makes me hesitate..."


Wendy Dan wrote: "Mockingjay's ending was pretty brutal."

Amanda wrote: "I appreciated that she didn't stick to the Katniss as a big damn hero and happily ever after template of most young adult books."

Both reasons that I loved it, and was glad it didn't take the happily ever after route. No one came out unscathed, which is realistic.


Ronyell Awesome review Dan! I really enjoyed this book too!!!


message 42: by Alejandro (new)

Alejandro A good review by you about this book certainly picked my interest about giving to the series a chance.


message 43: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Alejandro wrote: "A good review by you about this book certainly picked my interest about giving to the series a chance."

If I could do it over again, I'd probably stop after the first book.


message 44: by Alejandro (new)

Alejandro Dan wrote: "Alejandro wrote: "A good review by you about this book certainly picked my interest about giving to the series a chance."

If I could do it over again, I'd probably stop after the first book."


Really? Why? Can you elaborate without spoiling anything crutial?


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

Dan Schwent I think the series slides in quality a bit after the first book. I do, however, like the movie version of Catching Fire better than the movie version of The Hunger Games.


message 46: by Alejandro (new)

Alejandro Dan wrote: "I think the series slides in quality a bit after the first book. I do, however, like the movie version of Catching Fire better than the movie version of The Hunger Games."

Ah okay, thanks for commenting about it ;)


Nicole Neustadt I was sad to see that you were avoiding reading such a great novel, but I too must admit I did not want to read it either. It seemed like one of those fandoms like Harry Potter that I just could never get myself into. Despite, this my friends were able to convince me to see the movie. The moment it ended I headed to the nearest book store and purchased the book set. I had thought if a movie could be this good the book has to be too, and I was correct it was. Upon opening the book to already knowing what was going to happen I still found new things I had not noticed nor discovered in the movie. It was the little things that I found the most interesting like the way they did not include the fact Madge Undersee, the mayors daughter, was the one that gave Katniss the mocking jay pin the day of the reaping. I thought this would be important information since Katniss is displayed as kind of a colder character it would be good to know she does have a a female best friend other than her side kick Gale. One thing I wish for in the book would be that Gale and Katniss needed to face the fact the two of them clearly have feelings for each other. Even though, that may have developed more conflict in the text it needed to be known. To sum everything up I thought this book was absolutely fantastic.


message 48: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Try. Reading. A book. About nuclear war. The fifth. Horseman by. Larry. Collins. And. Dominique. La Pierre. The. Summary. Iranian. Terrorists. Hide. Dirty. Bombs. In New York. Chicago and. La. The. Government then. Has. Weigh. The option of. Evacuating. Those. Said. Targeted. Cities. Scary. Huh


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