I affectionately think of her as “Catnip”

Meant to be a trilogy for young adults, Suzanne Collins has created a wonderful series for readers of all ages.

Many of you have probably not heard of “The Hunger Games.” And why should you? I know you; I am one of you. I, too, once scorned titles for teens. But let me tell you this: you are missing out on a provocative and timely adventure.

Katniss Everdeen lives in Panem, what used to be the United States of America. There are no states anymore, only twelve districts. District thirteen has been destroyed. Collins gives us no date but the US experienced famine, plagues, fires, droughts, and war. Each district is governed by the Capitol, namely by President Snow.

In a nod to the popularity of reality TV in our own culture, Collins writes that the Republic puts on The Hunger Games every year. These games are televised on TV but they are very different from our Olympics. Contestants must face many obstacles, including muttations, and fight to the death. There can only be one victor in the games, as that is how it has always been for 74 years.

Each district must provide a tribute of two contestants, one boy and one girl. This is referred to as a “reaping.” Katniss is horrified when her sister’s name is drawn so she steps into her place. Another teen, Peeta, is also selected.

So Katniss and Peeta are whisked away to the Capitol to prepare for the festivities. Then, she finds herself fighting for her life in the games. Despite her relationship with another boy from back home, Peeta is attracted to Katniss and alliances develop. She even saves Peeta’s life. When all the other participants are dead except Peeta and dear old Catnip, she knows that she can never kill Peeta. Peeta cannot kill her either.

Therein lies the dilemma. Katniss decides she will try to kill herself on national TV. She has no intention of actually consuming the poisonous berries. Her ruse works! The Capitol intervenes and there are two champions for the first time.

The Capitol is not happy, though…

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