The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I've been hearing a lot about this book, and with the film due out next year I decided that I definitely wanted to read it. Luckily for me, I didn't have to buy it. My recent birthday yielded the best result possible: this book as a gift (incidentally, if ever you want to please me, buy me a good book!).
I was, at first, quite terrified that the current trend for terrible stuff in young adult fiction (point in case: Twilight) would continue. You know, the type of writing that insults the intelligence of youth and assumes they're all shallow, maladjusted half-people.
Well, can you blame me?
Turns out, thankfully, not.
Katniss, the heroine of the story and from whose perspective the tale is told, is a slightly embittered person (she rarely lets people outside of her family close) who nonetheless loves her family dearly. More to the point, she's tough. She's a hunter, a fighter, a survivor.
I really don't want to give too much away with this book, but needless to say, it captures the angst of the divide between youth and adulthood exceptionally well. We've all been, or will be, there - that bizarre space when you're no longer a child, but not quite an adult; where nothing makes sense and you're so uncertain of anything, least of all who you are.
Katniss' character, her motives, her confusion and her vulnerabilities (yes, she has those), make her one of the most believable characters I've read in young adult fiction to date. I'm quite convinced that I would have behaved in the same way she did, given the extraordinary circumstances in which she finds herself.
A fan of adult fiction (largely adult fantasy... no, not that kind, you potty-minded people! I mean the genre fantasy), I found the language a little simple for my tastes, though I have to point out that its directness and immediacy are actually part of the charm.
And it's a young adult story, I must remind myself. If I was around the age of, say, 11, this would have shot up to the near top of my favourites list (the very top being Over Sea, Under Stone).
It's fast-paced, has plenty of action and, yes, made me gasp out loud. I highly recommend this book for lovers of young adult. I will definitely be getting stuck into the rest of the series as soon as I can!
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