When more than half of my students have read a particular book, I do my best to read it myself so we can have discussions about the characters and themes. So when I realized how many of them were finishing the trilogy and that the movie came out next month, I decided I should dive in.
The first book, The Hunger Games, is a futuristic tale of survival. The United States is no more, and among the "Districts," there is the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV with children between the ages of 12-18. The children's names are put in a lottery each year. You can get more food for your family, but you risk getting chosen for the Games because your name goes in the pot more than once. I'm skipping a lot of details, here, but you get the idea.
Katniss, the main character, is a strong, quiet girl with a cynical eye toward the world. She epitomizes what every teen girl wants to be - strong and brave, but also beautiful and desired. She volunteers to take her sister's place in the Games, and that is one of the best themes of the novel -- self-sacrifice.
There is somewhat of a romance between Katniss and another boy, but it does not go beyond brief kisses.
Is it a good book? I'm not sure how to answer that. It's a better choice than most of the books out there for teenagers. And that's the thing that makes me sad - the lack of decent books for kids.
Your turn: Have you read the book? What other books would you recommend for a middle school/high school student?