Parents' Guide to

The Hunger Games, Book 1

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Exciting, provocative tale of lethal reality show.

The Hunger Games, Book 1 book cover: Black background with title along top in white type and the golden mockingjay in a golden ring with a gold arrow in its mouth

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 236 parent reviews

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.
age 18+

Desensitizes young readers to violence.

Children killing children is a gross, repulsive idea. I see that as an attitude that can only make our society indifferent to the suffering and death of our fellow human beings. Where are the uplifting and inspiring stories that can help our kids become moral, compassionate citizens?

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (236 ):
Kids say (1206 ):

Author Suzanne Collins blends elements that are both classical and modern to produce a story that, if not entirely new, still 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 like Survivor, and political and social trends. But she makes the resulting story her own, and The Hunger Games avoids feeling derivative through her poignant characters and the complex interplay of personal feelings and political machinations.

Collins does all this in the context of an all-out action-thriller that's told in straight-ahead yet subtle prose with a carefully calibrated level of edgy violence that doesn't go over the line. A story of teens massacring one another could, in the hands of a different author, have been overly sensational. But by keeping the focus relentlessly on the personal, Collins makes it both moving and thought-provoking. The Hunger Games will be a terrific discussion starter for middle-school literature groups, in which students will quickly make connections to contemporary society.

Book Details

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