Emily Neigel & Megan O’Doherty
CONTRIBUTOR & CO-DESIGN EDITOR
Katniss Everdeen is exhausted, hungry and numb. She is sixteen years old. Today is the fourth worst day of her life, and the odds are even less in her favor.
It is the day of the Reaping.
In a post-revolutionary North America, Katniss battles day to day life in District 12, one of twelve districts that are forced to serve the whims of the Capitol. After the death of her father in a tragic mining accident, Katniss took to hunting illegally in the woods to provide for her mother and younger sister, Prim. If constant hunger and life in “The Seam” weren’t enough of a punishment, the Capitol requires each district to oﬀer two tributes to participate in “The Hunger Games.” The games serve as a reminder that the Capitol has absolute power over the districts and insolence will not be tolerated. Each year, the names of children between the names of 12 and 18 are entered into a lottery. In the poorer districts, children have the option to enter their names multiple times, in order to receive supplementary grain and oil for their families. Katniss has entered her name twenty times and her only hope is that anyone but Prim is oﬀered as tribute.
Katniss’ heart drops when she hears the name “Primrose Everdeen” called across the square. Before she feels her feet move beneath her, Katniss has called out and volunteered herself to replace the person she holds most dear. Katniss Everdeen is going to the Hunger Games and she is certain that she’s not coming back.
In the best-selling trilogy, “The Hunger Games,” Suzanne Collins creates a disturbing world ruled by consumerism, greed and power. The district-capitol relationship represents how authoritarian power exploits those who are beneath their sphere of inﬂuence. The leader of “Panem,” Collins’ dystopic society, uses fear as a means of control and domination. Despite its “Young Adult” genre label, this trilogy is particularly intriguing to college-aged students. The strong political undertones parallel historical and current events.
Similar to the “Twilight” series, the trilogy falls back on a teenage love triangle ﬁlled with angst and longing. However, Katniss is no Bella. Although Bella and Katniss share a tendency to put others before themselves, Bella’s greatest strength was a willingness to kill herself for a boy. Katniss’ greatest strength is her willingness to do whatever it takes to save her family and to kill anyone that stands in her way. While murder is not the status quo for a young adult’s protagonist, in a world where the stakes are so much higher Katniss is a role model that shows the importance of strength, wit, courage and survival.
Although the book is rather violent and ﬁlled with disturbing imagery, in a world where it is okay to write about a vampire baby eating its way out of its mother’s vagina, nothing is really oﬀ limits. At least “The Hunger Games” conveys a greater social-political message and boasts a strong female lead. The series will reel you in and make you hunger for more, so wait to read until ﬁnals are over.
This is what she knows, her name is Katniss Everdeen, she has never left District 12. She is sitting next to Peeta Mellark, the other tribute from District 12, and she knows she has to kill him.
Rating: Five Stars