Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably at least heard of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The novel was published by Scholastic in 2008, and is the first in a trilogy that includes Catching Fire and Mockingjay as the subsequent books in the series. The book has been wildly popular with adults and teens alike, and will be released as a movie later this year.
In The Hunger Games, we are introduced to several teenaged characters who find themselves in the unlikeliest of circumstances. In this dystopian novel, the United States of America is no more, and the states are replaced with twelve state-like entities called districts. There was a thirteenth district at one point, but it has been destroyed because the people of District Thirteen rebelled against the Capitol.
The Capitol is the most prosperous part of the country of Panem, and the one that controls what happens in the rest of the districts. It is in what we know as Denver, Colorado. As the audience, the district we are focused on is District Twelve, where our narrator, Katniss Everdeen is from. This district is in what we know of as Appalachia. Because of previous rebellions against the Capitol, every year, each district is forced to send one male and one female between the ages of twelve and eighteen to fight in the Hunger Games, where the teenagers fight to the death. Only one can make it out alive.
Katniss Everdeen is the narrator of the book, and is one of the strongest female characters in young adult literature to date. She volunteers to take the place of her younger sister, Prim, in the Hunger Games, and after that she ends up using both her intelligence and her incredible skill with a bow and arrow to play the game. Peeta Mellark is her fellow tribute from District Twelve. The son of a baker, he is adept at camouflage. He also has a huge crush on Katniss, which poses some problems for them as the Games go on.
Gale Hawthorne is Katniss’s best friend and hunting buddy from District Twelve. It becomes obvious through the book that he also has a crush on Katniss. The book is peppered with several other memorable characters, such as Effie Trinket who bounces about, getting Peeta and Katniss ready for the games as well as Cinna, the stylist for the tributes from District Twelve. Among the most memorable characters is Haymitch Abernathy, a previous winner of the games who has now turned to alcohol to self-medicate his symptoms of PTSD.
In March 2012, The Hunger Games will be released as a movie. This much-anticipated film will surely be met with huge crowds at midnight showings. Since both teenagers and adults have fallen in love with these books, there will surely be a line at the ticket booths on the opening weekend. The cast of the movie is made up of seasoned veterans and up-and-coming actors to create the feel readers expect.
Jennifer Lawrence will play Katniss, and she will be accompanied by Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Liam Hemsworth as Gale, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, Donald Sutherland as President Snow, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, and Lenny Kravitz as Cinna. With these stellar actors, among many others, the audience can expect an awesome show. The movie will have a PG-13 rating to allow the teenagers who love the book to see it unattended, but many people are worried that the gruesome nature of the book will not be able to be portrayed onscreen with this rating. Only time will tell if the movie will live up to the text.