Suzanne Collins, author of The Underland Chronicles, has a new book on the market. The Hunger Games tells the story of Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year old girl who lives in the 12th district of Panem, the remains of what used to be known as North America. Life is difficult in District 12. Katniss spends her days hunting illegally in the forest to bring food and supplies home to her mother and younger sister, Prim. Long ago the districts rose up against the Capitol and were defeated. As a reminder to the districts that the Capitol is in control, they must now participate in a nationally televised competition called “The Hunger Games.” The tributes (contestants) are chosen by lottery – one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district. The games are a fight to the death. The last contestant breathing wins. When 12-year old Prim’s name is called as a tribute, Katniss immediately volunteers to take her sister’s place.
Mix The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson, Survivor, and the Roman gladiatorial games in a bowl and season liberally with political and romantic tension. The result is a riveting read that is difficult to put down. The Hunger Games is at times harsh and violent, occasionally funny, and always intriguing. It is the first book of what promises to be a fantastic trilogy.