Book Review: The Hunger Games

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Five, seventh grade students waited for their turn to the leave the classroom last spring. The Hunger Games was scheduled to open that Friday night.

“So, what do you guys think of The Hunger Games?” I asked my kids.

Never in my life have middle school students surrounded me. You would’ve thought I was a teenager in the Hunger Games surrounded by what Katniss Everdeen refers to as the “Career Tributes” instead of a substitute teacher.

“Oh, my gosh, you have to read it,” one kid said.

“It’s the best book I’ve ever read.”

“I’m going to the midnight movie,” the last one said.

I waited, nervous – in my soft-hearted way – to read about children dying. I am a teacher. I am a mother, and I had a dream my son was called into the Hunger Games. I knew at that point I could not read it.

But, I did read it.

It was good. Really good.

 What I Took Away

The Hunger Games is a well-crafted novel that succeeds in reaching beyond the YA genre. The plot takes off quickly, and the reader learns about Katniss and her family through flashbacks. The flashbacks are rich in the way they add to Katniss Everdeen. The reader learns how she loved and admired her father.

Katniss remembers her father’s singing voice.

Peeta – District 12’s boy tribute – remembers Katniss singing at their school when they were much younger.

After her father’s death, she does not believe in the need for music until she meets a 12 year old tribute, Rue. The child, who is strong in her own right, says music is a big part of her life. She sings a song or signal that a bird, called a mockingjay, later copies.

Katniss is hesitant to sing until she is once again faced with unexpected grief. She lost her father, and finally sang again when she faced the death of a friend inside the The Hunger Games arena.

The beautiful singing voice of Katniss’ father and Rue’s enjoyment of music is a small factor in the book. Yet, it reminds Katniss of the humanity that still exists in a country controlled by the Capitol. The people in District 12, as Rue tells Katniss, sing when the work day is finished.


“ … There’s a special little song I do,” says Rue. She opens her mouth and sings a little four-note run in a sweet, clear voice. “and the mockingjays spread it around the orchard …” (p.212)

In a world where there is little to no freedom, author, Suzanne Collins, reminds the reader that her characters still live or discover life in a country where life is not highly valued by those of the Capitol.

People are starving.

Twenty-four tributes fight once a year in a Hunger Games until only one is left.

Freedom does not exist.

Katniss, Rue, Peeta and even the back story of Katniss’ father demonstrates there are those who will continue to value life.

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By Rebecca T. Dickinson


10 thoughts on “Book Review: The Hunger Games

  1. Excellent review Rebecca. I read the book a long time back but am still to review it. Now that you’ve written one, it inspires me to write too.

    Keep writing.


    1. It is a very good book. I read Young Adult books more often now. I like to keep up with what my students might read as well as the market. Thank you, Patricia!

  2. I really do not know whether to read this. I kind of figured it was somewhat ripping off the plot of “Battle Royale”. It is one of them, shall I read or just watch the film choices. But then I prefer the detail in books. Hmm…

    1. I have not read “Battle Royale,” but I have read in other reviews the story shares a lot in common. What I found in “The Hunger Games” was how a government can mistreat its people, including starvation, and attempt to destroy humanity. In the book, humanity manages to exist through simple actions like music.

      I have not watched the movie yet. I have other books I am also reading. I prefer books, too. I can never read enough.

  3. Great review, Rebecca. I read this book for the Eclectic Reading Challenge to read genres you wouldn’t usually go near. With such a strong following I wasn’t sure whether it was the type of book I would enjoy. I did. So much that I bought the rest of the trilogy so I could finish the story.

    1. I did not know if I would enjoy it either, but I’ve already finished the second book. I am reading other books in between, but I will begin the last book this week. Thanks for reading, Pete!

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