Parents' Guide to

The Hunger Games, Book 1

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Exciting, provocative tale of lethal reality show.

The Hunger Games, Book 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 230 parent reviews

age 13+

A tragic addiction

Inspired by flicking tv channels between a reality tv show and scenes from a real war-zone (edifying material), but makes you uneasy because it makes things that are so wrong feel exciting, even thrilling. It draws your attention to problematic issues in society (sponsorship means anything goes, a body beautiful culture which at the same time tolerates horrendous violence, playing up romance for a show rather than for real meaning, no respect for human dignity in itself, only for what you can do or what you look like...) but it actually makes these things too riveting, they're the basis of what is fun in this book. It seems more a product of a disturbed society than a critique of one.

This title has:

Too much violence
10 people found this helpful.
age 12+

Important lessons!!!

The fact that so many adults believe this book is “about” kids killing kids is really an issue. This book creates empathy by creating characters that show themes of poverty and government control. Is there violence? Yes. It is used as a warning about becoming desensitized to violence. If you are not capable of understanding the messages in this book, please don’t speak on what it is “about”. The inability for adults to understand this is what is wrong with our society. Learning about characters teaches empathy.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
7 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (230 ):
Kids say (1191 ):

For her first young-adult novel, Suzanne Collins has mixed together elements both classical and modern to produce a story that, if not entirely new, nevertheless bears her unique imprint. Beginning with elements of the Theseus myth, she mixes in a large dollop of Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, elements of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, reality TV shows Survivor, American Gladiators, and Project Runway, and an extrapolation of current political and social trends. But she makes it her own, and The Hunger Games avoids feeling derivative through her complex and poignant characterizations of both major and secondary characters, and the bewildering interplay of personal feelings and political machinations.

Collins does all this in the context of an all-out action-thriller told in straight-ahead yet subtle prose with a carefully calibrated level of edgy violence that never goes over the line. A story of teens massacring one another could, in the hands of a different author, have been sensationalistic and even sick but, by keeping the focus relentlessly on the personal, Collins makes it both moving and thought-provoking. This will be a terrific discussion starter for middle-school literature groups, in which students will quickly make fruitful connections to our own society. Her novel Gregor the Overlander series is brilliant. With this second series, Collins shows that she's a major voice in children's and young adult literature.

Book Details

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