The future is always a bit different and scarier than the present. The United States of America eventually is destroyed and replaced by the country of Panem, whose Capitol is surrounded and supported by 12 Districts. A 13th District had existed, but the revolt was brutally put down and the district’s remains left in smoking ruins. As a reminder to the rest of the Districts that the Capitol is in charge, every year it holds a Hunger Games, a “Survivor”-like contest that is a fight to the death for one girl and one boy between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district. The 24 “tributes” are selected at random and placed in an arena where the whole nation watches the bloody battle progress on television.
Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl from District 12, steps in to replace her 12-year-old sister when her name is drawn to go to the Games. She finds out for herself just how terrifying it is to fight, to survive, to make the toughest choices of all. Suzanne Collins’ novel is gripping. It explores themes of ethics and philosophy, of politics and bureaucracy, in a terrifying adventure story that is unfortunately not too far off from the fare available on our television sets today. The Hunger Games is a thrilling, thought-provoking read for youth and adults alike.
Rated: Moderate. Language use is very minimal: only about two mild occurrences. The level of violence earns this young-adult book its moderate rating: some of it is fairly disturbing. The scenes are sometimes a bit gory and a bit detailed, but not over-the-top. It is just the fact that these young people are forced by their government to fight each other to the death that is the most disturbing. Would probably just earn a mild rating if aimed at adults.