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A Grownup Review of The Hunger Games

Updated on March 20, 2013

The Hunger Games is the Best in Teenaged Dystopian Fiction!

Whether you are a teenager or an adult, The Hunger Games is one of the best dystopian series you will ever read! You're sure to read through all three novels quickly, and I'm sure that you will love them just as much as I do.

If you have not yet read The Hunger Games trilogy, then get prepared for the ride of your life! This series is guaranteed to make your heart race, and to bring tears to your eyes. It is both terrifying and touching, an interesting and difficult combination to achieve.

What IS The Hunger Games, Anyway? - Hint: It's not a video game!

Hunger Games Cover
Hunger Games Cover

Very often, when I tell people that I am a fan of The Hunger Games, they say something like "Oh, that's not for me. I don't play video games or do any of that kind of stuff!" It's always a little bit disappointing to hear this, particularly when I've done my best to illustrate what The Hunger Games is all about. So let me be as clear as I can right up front: The Hunger Games isn't about video games, role playing, or anything like that. It is an excellent series of young adult novels written by Suzanne Collins, who also wrote the script of the upcoming movie.

So what is The Hunger Games all about anyway?

Good question.

The Hunger Games is a trilogy of dystopian novels set in a post-apocalyptic North American remnant known as Panem. The series is highly political and will make young readers think and will give adult readers something to talk about. I particularly recommend this book to adults, especially in today's political climate. There is a lot to learn from Panem and the Capitol, and readers of all ages will be challenged to think critically, as most dystopian novels will cause readers to think about what it is that is entering their minds and potentially changing them forever.

It's important for those who haven't read the book yet to remember that dystopian science fiction isn't science fiction in the sense that a lot of people think of it. Some friends of mine were disappointed when the book failed to include many of the fantasy elements that we think about when we consider science fiction and its implications. There are no alien races and there is limited technology in Panem. Not only do characters not carry cell phones with them from place to place, but the districts don't even have cars, for the most part! It is best to think of The Hunger Games as dystopian science fiction, but also remember that it is post-apocalyptic

I remember when I first started to think about reading this series, every review I read suggested that it was a story of children (teenagers) thrown into an arena with one another in a fight to the death. I kept thinking Roman Colosseum-style fighting. The stories sounded interesting, but somehow unappealing. I couldn't quite understand how this fit in with the rest of the story as I knew it.

That's because it isn't the story of two children thrown into a Roman-style Colosseum together in a fight to the death. In fact, if only for its politics, the book is much, much more interesting than that!

The Hunger Games trilogy is the story of Katniss Everdeen and Panem. North America has been destroyed and rebuilt as thirteen districts which are ruled from "The Capitol". Many years ago, District Thirteen rose up against the Capitol and was destroyed. Since then, every year each district must send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to the "Hunger Games." This means that there are twenty-four teenagers thrown into a large outdoor arena together. Only one person can "win" the games, and they must do so by killing all of their opponents.

This alone would be enough to make the series thrilling, but there is Oh! so much more to the story than that!

On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins?

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Haven't Read The Hunger Games Yet?

If you want MY take on the books, check out my reviews!

The following pages are individual reviews of each of the books in the series, starting with The Hunger Games and going from there to Catching Fire and then to Mockingjay. Until now I have been using a standard review format, but I do plan on updating these pages very soon in order to provide more information about the books and to help you to decide whether or not these are books you'd like to read. Each page also includes alternate reading selections for those who have either read the books or who don't enjoy young adult fiction. Additionally, the pages allow you to provide your own feedback on the books, so please take a moment to comment if you visit!

Please note that there may be spoilers for books that came before the review that you're reading. For example, when reading my review of Catching Fire you may find spoilers for The Hunger Games. This is a noteworthy point that should be taken into consideration. If you have not read the first book, you might want to skip the review of the second and third, and so on!

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games is the first book in the amazing young adult trilogy by Suzanne Collins. For anyone who enjoys dystopian fiction, this series is a must read...

Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire is the second book in the amazing young adult trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Picking up where The Hunger Games left off (quite abruptly, I might a...

Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay is the exciting conclusion to the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Just like with the first novel in the series, Catching Fire ended very ...

The Hunger Games Trilogy on Amazon - Give the series a try!

The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset
The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset

I think that you're going to love The Hunger Games and its sequels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay! I bought my books individually, but I think that the best way to make your purchase is to buy the books in a boxed set simply because it is the most cost-effective way to get all three books and the hard covers are easier to handle and read than the paperback versions.

The Hunger Games Boxed Set
The Hunger Games Boxed Set

My Take on The Hunger Games Trilogy

Five Stars -- A New Favorite!

I absolutely loved this trilogy. I am very careful in my star ratings on books. I try to be completely honest about my feelings, meaning that if I didn't enjoy a book, I am confident in giving it a one star rating. If I loved a book, I generally give it four stars. This series received a five star rating from me on my book blog.

If I am honest, I do love dystopian fiction, much along the lines of Stephen King's early writings (particularly The Bachman Books). The Hunger Games trilogy reminded me particularly of The Long Walk (by Richard Bachman aka Stephen King).

It must be noted that these books are violent. However, I have to confess that I found them less graphic than what I had originally anticipated after having read that the scenario was similar to the Roman Colosseum. I was impressed with Collins' ability to be graceful in how she handled the more bloody sections of the story line.

However, I do have to say that I would not personally recommend this series for young teens. Although the books are intended as "young adult" novels, I find that the themes are too mature for most young teenagers and that this series is probably best for people fifteen years or older. I personally would not allow my daughter to read these books until I was satisfied that she had reached a particular level of maturity.

If you are a fan of dystopian fiction, adult or young adult, I believe that you should put this series on your "to be read" list!

A dystopia is the ultimate reality.
A dystopia is the ultimate reality.

What exactly IS Dystopian Fiction?

An Introduction to Utopia and Dystopia

In order to define Dystopia, I feel that I must first define the word Utopia.

You've probably heard the word before and may have been exposed to Sir St. Thomas More's book Utopia. A Utopia is an impossibly perfect society in which its members suffer no want and there is total peace. It is, in my husband's words, an ideal unreality.

A Utopia is impossible, and though the people of the world continue to strive for it, it has never been achieved and will never be achieved.

A Dystopia is the opposite of a Utopia. It is the ultimate reality. It is the worst-case-scenario reality where there is generally total government control, the people starve, and ultimately society breaks down entirely. Dystopian fiction is sometimes apocalyptic.

You will find several recommendations of dystopian novels throughout this page. Feel free to take a look at as many of them as you wish. Some of these are some of my own personal favorites!

The Ultimate in Teenaged Dystopia - The Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies

You might have been asked to read this one in school, and if you haven't yet, then you probably will be at some point in the future! The Lord of the Flies is the clearest example of dystopian fiction that I can give you as an illustration of the genre; the book is short and easy to read, while also illustrating the total moral decay and breakdown of an otherwise utopian society. If you haven't read Lord of the Flies, you need to!


Which of The Hunger Games Novels was YOUR Favorite? - Your Opinions Matter!

Which Hunger Games novel was your favorite?

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Hunger Games Short

This positively could not go unshared. I stumbled upon this while doing research for another Hunger Games page and was absolutely stunned by the beauty of this short film on Youtube. If you love The Hunger Games there is no doubt that you will recognize this clip from the story and you have undoubtedly been very touched by this particular part of the novel.

Another Mainstay Productions Short Film - Katniss and Peeta in the Cave

Not as good as the scene with Rue, but the actors are fantastic!

Great Hunger Games Gifts - Buy on Amazon

I have chosen the following items based on their Amazon ratings. I am personally looking for a Mockingjay pin like the one that Katniss wore in the books, but I have yet to find one. The pendants seem to be the closest thing. Either way, these all make great gifts for any fan of The Hunger Games and I would love to have these items myself. And of course they are all on Amazon, so you are buying from a name you trust!

Please feel free to leave your thoughts on The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. My readers are sure to appreciate your various viewpoints on the series and I would love to give them the opportunity to hear what you have to say. Please do not post Hunger Games spoilers in the guestbook! All comments must go through me before being posted, and I will not post any comments that contain series spoilers. Please be considerate of others in your posting.

Did you enjoy The Hunger Games? - Leave your review, too!

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    • ayng29 lm profile image

      ayng29 lm 

      6 years ago

      Yep! Absolutely did! Although I think it did have a lot of similarities with Battle Royale, I think it's so much better. I also made a lens about the Hunger Games. Would appreciate it if you can drop by! Thanks!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My take on The Hunger Games was from the perspective of senior citizen/60s hippie, so Collins' anti-establishment stance was kind of welcome to see. Off to read your individual reviews now.

    • kmariedubya profile image


      6 years ago

      Absolutely amazing!

    • IMKZRNU2 profile image


      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Great book series....definitely makes you think. Well written lens too!

    • WeatherWoman1285 profile image


      6 years ago

      I love the first book, read it in a time span of 24 hours. The second book was good, but I was disappointed by the third book. Don't get me wrong, I liked it and I was furious at it at the same time. I don't want to be a spoiler for anyone who hasn't read it yet so I won't say anything about it except my biggest issue was that I really didn't car for the way it ended. I think the first one was by far the best.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 

      6 years ago from California

      I haven't read the book(s) or seen the movie, however my grandaughter just saw it the other night. She had not read the books and when I asked her how it was, she said it was pretty good, but she would have loved to read the books to know what was going one., I prefer not to know first ;) You did a good job on this page.

    • Everyday-Miracles profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @equilibria: Honestly, I'm surprised by the popularity that the series has with teenagers. I've gotten several comments from people who are clearly VERY young that I've had to delete due to the bad and accusatory language in them. I wonder sometimes whether or not people below a certain age have the life experience necessary to fully understand the implications of the games, but I also know that the series is being used in political science classes at some colleges, and may be being used in high schools as well.

      I can't speak for the kids, but I know that I love the series and will be at the theater tomorrow at 10 to make sure I get good seats! I bought my tickets two weeks ago! :)

    • equilibria profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Becky, loved your review and pretty much agree with it. Why do you think teenagers are so mesmerized by this book series and are obviously going to make the movie a blockbuster? What is it about this kind of story or the characters that make teenagers love it so much?

    • Brandi Bush profile image


      6 years ago from Maryland

      I just bought the first book...looking forward to reading it! :)

    • lilymom24 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens about a really good book series. I really enjoyed the short youtube movies.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Fantastic lens. I've been reading and writing about The Hunger Games movie and am featuring two of your most excellent lenses there.

    • Everyday-Miracles profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @TreasuresBrenda: Thank you Brenda! That means a lot! I need to update my HG movie lens. I just haven't had time.

    • dannygator7790 profile image


      7 years ago

      I just started reading the series and I'm already hooked. Unfortunately I have to pry myself away so that I can study for the MCAT but when I want a break, I go straight to the book.

    • sheriangell profile image


      7 years ago

      My daughter read all three of these and loved them. When she was reading the first one I picked it up and read the first few pages and decided I would read it too. Unfortunately time and procrastination have kept me from doing so, but your lens has encouraged me once again. Great review and blessed by a Squid Angel!

    • MerylV profile image

      Meryl van der Merwe 

      7 years ago from USA

      Glad to know there are other adults who loved this series too! My teens haven't got around to reading them yet ... I do keep telling them how great they are.

    • TeacherSerenia profile image


      7 years ago

      I havent read these books - not likely to read them either. I am not a fan of sytopia.

      But this lens was good in explaining all about the troligy, Blessed by the young adult books angel.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image


      7 years ago from Iowa

      Though I am definitely older than it's target audience I am intrigued. I've read several series lately. I love that they draw out the story and that it doesn't end with only one book.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My liking of the books goes in the order they were written; one was the best, two was okay, three was 'eh!' But then again, this type of book is not my thing, I'm not into redoing worlds and political stuff. The fact that the first book was good enough to get me to the second one and the second one wasn't so bad that I didn't read the third is a credit to the author.


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