Over the past couple of months, I've seen glowing reviews for The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. While I put it on my list of books to read, I didn't give it priority--a huge mistake. From the first page I was hooked. Which kind of surprised me since before I started the book I found the whole premise of the book a little disturbing. As I started reading, I found the book to be so well written, the characters not only likeable, but human as well with flaws and weakness with a plot that is as engaging plot as it is disturbing, and found myself flying through the book, trying to anticipate the twists and turns, and hoping that everything would turn out ok.
The story takes place in the future where the United States is a thing of the past. Instead there is a country called Panem, which consists of a rich and powerful Capitol and twelve poor districts. At one point there were thirteen districts, but the Capitol destroyed one just to show how powerful it is. As a reminder of their power, each year the Capitol host the "Hunger Games" in which one boy and one girl from each states is sent to fight each other until there is only one person is left standing, bring fame, fortune and food to their state. The story is told from the viewpoint of sixteen-year-old Katniss, who has volunteered to go in place of her twelve-year-old sister, Primrose. Also joining Katniss in the "Hunger Games" is Peetra, who confesses on live TV that he has been in love with Katniss since he was five. Katniss is first skeptical of his announcement and views it as a ploy to gain favor with the audience, especially when he forms an alliance with a group that is determined to kill Katniss. But when the rules are changed half way through the game so that two tributes from the same district can win if they are the last two left standing, Katniss seeks out Peetra and nurses him back to health from an injury he sustained in keeping her safe. As her friendship with Peetra grows, Katniss is faced with new decisions about love, loyalty, sacrifice, and the reason she is fighting to stay alive.
While I had been told that there was a sequel, I got so caught up in the reading of it that I forgot that was the case and reached the end of the book wanting more. :)
This book is sure to please everybody. It's nail-biting suspense, star-crossed lovers, and the promise of redemption will have your fighting for the characters and willing them to survive.
I'm counting down the days until the second novel, Catching Fire, is released.