This is actually my last book review for 2011, but I'm a little late in writing it up.

Anyway, I'd been hearing good things about the Hunger Games trilogy for a while, but finally remembered to sign up on the library's waiting list after a recent post from [personal profile] dreamingofthestars. And the book was just as awesome as she said it would be - thanks for the great recommendation!

The story is set in sort of a post-post-apocalyptic society. Twelve districts in the country of Panem are ruled by the iron hand of the Capitol city. Conditions in the districts are harsh, poverty is rampant, and pretty much every day is a struggle for food - outside the Capitol, anyway. To remind the districts of the Capitol's power and to punish them for an uprising 74 years earlier, each year, a boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen as tributes to fight in the Hunger Games. The Games are a televised fight to the death, required viewing for everyone in Panem.

Katniss Everdeen is sixteen and has been the sole provider for her family since the age of 11, when her father was killed and her mother withdrew into a nearly catatonic state. Each day, Katniss leaves District 12 to hunt and gather in the woods, a crime punishable by death. One of her few joys in life is her sister, Prim, whom she loves more than anything. So when 12-year-old Prim is selected as a tribute for the Hunger Games, Katniss immediately volunteers to take her place, though she knows it will almost certainly lead to her death. But her years in the woods have taught her invaluable survival skills, which, along with her intense force of will - and promise to Prim that she'd really try to win - may just be enough to help her survive the Games.

I just loved The Hunger Games. I could barely put it down, and in fact stayed up till 4:30 one night/morning to finish it (fortunately, I had the next day off). There are a number of elements in the story common to sci-fi and fantasy plots, but Collins has used them to create a unique and incredibly compelling story with fascinating, flawed and engaging characters. I'm already more than halfway through the sequel, and it'll be a struggle to put it down for a few days to read my next book club selection.
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