Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Grade Level Equivalent: 5.3
Interest Level: 6-8
Lexile 810L
My Recommended Age: 13 and up

Do you remember hearing about Twilight and thinking, "I don't want to read that..." and then after you finally started it and you couldn't put it down?  That feeling completely describes this book for me... When I read the back cover I thought, "Seriously..what am I going to read, that is so morbid?"  So I put it off for several weeks.  Once I finally started it, I couldn't stop.  

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen feels she has just been issued a death sentence when she is forced to represent her impoverished district in the Hunger Games.  The Annual Games, which are put on by the harsh and cruel Capital, are a fight-to-the death on live TV. One boy and one girl from each of the 12 outlying districts are selected by lottery to compete (Totally morbid huh?)  Without really meaning to, Katniss becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

It took me less than five hours to read Hunger Games, and when I finished I felt as though I had just run a marathon!  This book is riveting!  Collins has done an excellent job taking the reader into the arena, and giving them characters to cheer for.  Remember before you jump in, or let your kids jump in, to keep in mind the subject content.

Hunger Games is a book with mature themes.  It is about a reality TV show where the winner wasn't just the only one still on the island, he/she was the only one who wasn't murdered.    It deals with issues of poverty, starvation, moral and ethical choices, love, and duty.  The violence, while not gory or graphic in detail, is plentiful.  Fighting involves primitive weaponry, hand-to-hand combat, poisoning, spearing and stabbings. The futuristic government that sponsors the event terrorizes and tortures citizens that revolt.
Collins does a good job of keeping the book "readable" and not graphic, but it still happens.  In my mind, it is the difference between a rated R book vs. a PG-13 book.  There is also some kissing and intimacy, but it is mild.

I really liked this book. My son mentioned that he has it on the shelf in his sixth grade classroom, but I am not willing to let him read it, yet. This is definitely YOUNG ADULT fiction. I am sure he will LOVE it in a few years!

Happy Reading

Becky says:

My recommended age:  13 and up for mature readers

I enjoyed this so much that I have recommended it to everyone I know, and many random people that I just met.  I think it is such a statement on society, and there is so much to think about.  Be aware that the subject matter will most surely get darker and perhaps more mature,  so you may want to consider holding off another year or to on letting your kiddos read it just so you don't have to be a mean parent later when the 3rd book is less appropriate.


  1. Liked the book overall. I did have a hard time getting to sleep after reading some parts. I'm not sure I'd recommend it as a bedtime read. For example: The Mutt mutations in the Cornucopia. Ewwwww!

  2. Thanks for the review! I'm fighting this battle with my 6th grader who swears he's the only one in his class (and the earth for that matter) that hasn't read it yet. I'm going to have him read your review.


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