When a YA novel comes along that has so much hype such as The Hunger Games I become hesitant to read it because I haven't had much luck with the hyped-up YA books. I think it's just because I don't mesh with the things that make those books exciting for others. I put off reading The Hunger Games until I saw it was available at the library so I requested it.
Despite my bias going into it (which I tried really hard to suppress) this book still managed to win me over. There were many things that I liked. Firstly, despite the book's premise being hard to believe, the fact that people would actually watch children kill themselves in an arena for victory, I thought Collins did the best job she could to make it plausible. There was some internal logic that I sensed which made me happy. I like when things make sense. I was able to suspend disbelief and nothing broke that.
This was done through good world-building in the form of a dystopian North America. The characters were real. I thought the portrayal of Katniss as a strong teenaged girl was not over the top or too weak. You really knew her motivations (to take care of her sister) and you could relate to them.
Another great aspect of the story is the fast pace and Collins' ability to create tension. The Games are brutal, exciting and scary. If I was a teenager reading this I'd be freaked out and intrigued. I was even still! Actually, I think I would have loved this book at that age.
There are some areas I thought could be improved on. I would have liked to see more of the outside world. We are limited in what we see due to the first person view of Katniss. I would have liked to see more of the people of the world and what their experiences are like because I believe Collins created something interesting. However, this is a little critism and in general I still thought the book was great.
I recommend this to teens who don't mind some violence and anyone interested in good quality YA fiction. I will be reading the sequel soon. A-