The Daily Monocle

Critical book reviews from a literary skeptic.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Review + Giveaway: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Posted by J. P. Wickwire

If you've read my essay on the decline of YA literature, you already know my opinions of the genre. It seems that most popular teen titles are shallow, and often poorly written. In order to find anything worth reading in the YA section of the bookstore, I spend hours scouring the shelves.

When I was preparing for writing the aforementioned essay, I sat down and read a bunch of YA books. One of those books—incidentally, the only book I liked—was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

I tore through the story in just a few hours. I was, in a word, captivated.

12 districts make up the former United States of America. Every year, each district is required to pay a tribute: two children used as gladiators in a televised match to the death.

When Katniss' twelve year old sister is chosen as their district's tribute, Katniss volunteers in her place. And so a gripping story unfolds about a girl who will only go down fighting. Hard.

The characterization was spot on, and three-dimensional. The characters were realistically flawed. The writing—though simple, and typical of teen literature—didn't seem childish, and I loved the plot. Not to mention that The Hunger Games trilogy has developed the most realistic love triangle I think I've ever read. That last sentence there is saying a lot.

If plot sounds familiar, that's because it has been done before. Although The Hunger Games is lauded for its originality, it borrows heavily from Koushun Takami's Battle Royale. Personally, I haven't read Battle Royale (though I'd like to), as I find the many Japanese names confusing, and I dislike the English translation. However, I know a lot about the book, and I've seen the movie.

But—and I guess this is the reason I still like this book—I think The Hunger Games did a better job than Battle Royale. It seemed more realistic to me. Grittier, and more psychological, whereas Battle Royale is gory.


After reading The Hunger Games, I immediately went out and bought its sequel, Catching Fire. And you better believe that as soon as I get my paycheck this week, I'm going to pre-order the final book in the trilogy, Mockingjay, from Amazon. They have an amazing hardcover pre-order price right now of only nine dollars or so. Mockingjay is released on August 24th.

The Hunger Games is the only teen book I've read in a very long time that I would ever recommend to someone else. That's why The Daily Monocle is giving away a brand new, paperback copy. Contest ends August 15th! I will randomly pick a winner on August 16th, and the winner will be notified by e-mail!

UPDATE: HEY! If you already entered in the comments below, don't worry about this spiffy form! You are entered! But if you haven't, go ahead and fill this out. You MUST do one of the entry methods (eg. Facebook, twitter, blog about, etc.) in ADDITION to leaving your e-mail address.

Author's website


melydia said...

I've been dying to read this one. Here's my comment:

And here's my email:


Anonymous said...

I don't know if this counts as a comment on a review, since it's more of an essay, but I figured I might as well enter. :)

I'd rather not post my email here, but you can PM me on BtN, if that's okay with you.

Just so you know, I *love* your blog, Jecca! Book review blogs are the best. :)


Audrey said...

I became a fan on facebook. Cool blog you have going.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, JP. I'm dropping in to say it's great to meet you and thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

J.T. Oldfield said...

I've commented on your essay:


Post a Comment