A little over two years ago as I was taking tickets at a middle school basketball game, I picked up the Hunger Games. After the first ten pages my fingers started twitching with anticipation, wanting to turn the pages to read more. Every so often I would have to put the book down and greet parents all the while counting down the seconds until I could pick up my book and escape into District 12. By the time I left the game, I was completely hooked.
I drove/sped home, threw on my cozies and climbed into my reading chair. “What are we doing tonight?” Forest asked. “I’m reading The Hunger Games,” I replied giving Forest the don’t talk to me until I am done reading look. I settled into my chair, the way Katniss settles into the trees, and consumed the rest of The Hunger Games.
After reading The Hunger Games, it became my new goal to have everyone I know read the book. The craze began to spread like a wildfire. Students started reading… teachers, friends, and family. “Have you read The Hunger Games yet?” I would ask. “It’s awesome, you have to read it.”
“What is it about?” someone would inevitably ask. The tricky part was explaining the plot. Yes it is violent, yes it is kids killing kids, but not by choice. Teenagers, also known as tributes, are thrust into an environment and told there can only be one survivor. They are sacrificial lambs, children being led to slaughter. They are pawns in a game…the hunger games. As a reminder to all districts that they must never rebel, the Capital hosts the hunger games and each tribute must fight to the death in order to become the winner. The games are televised so everyone at home can witness the death, violence and actions of the tributes all the while being reminded that the Capital is in control. Enter Katniss… the girl who changed everything, the girl on fire.
Katniss is from district 12. She is poor, fatherless, and supporting her family by hunting illegally. Katniss instantly found a place in my heart as she reminded me of my own sister and how she would have volunteered to take my place as tribute. How could you not love Katniss? The girl can hunt, shoot arrows, throw knives, sing, dazzle crowds, save her family and survive in a world where all the odds are against her. Even her name, Katniss, sounds tough. She is also tenderhearted, loves the outcasts, and will do anything for her younger sister Prim.
Despite having two boys fall madly in love with her, she doesn’t become lovesick and weak. She fights. She fights for her family, her freedom, her privacy and her choices. She fights for basic human rights, for everything that is wrong in her world, and to make things right. She is independent, willful, and scrappy. She is a role model for all young adult women.
Could I do it? Could I survive the hunger games? Could I fight and possibly kill someone, a kid no less? The answer is no, I would probably be the first tribute to go. As soon as the horn sounded I would be toast, the cannon would be fired and I would be hovercrafted away. Nobody would raise three fingers to their lips in a salute for me.
If you haven’t read the book already I am sure you are itching to pick it up. You won’t regret it. Take an adventure to Panem, meet Katniss and have your world turned upside down. Find the message you are meant to learn. May the odds be ever in your favor.
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