The Hunger Games occur each year, requiring each of the 12 districts of Panem to send a boy and a girl to compete in a fight to the death. Panem, a future incarnation of a sort of post-apocalyptic America, is ruled by an authoritarian elite in the Capitol, with shades of a new Roman Empire. This annual tribute is a primary means by which they maintain control over the districts. The Games are televised live; every move of every contender is monitored and filmed, like "Survivor," only with deadly consequences.
The heroine of The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen, from one of the poorest districts, volunteers to take the place of her little sister when her name is drawn. Determined to show some independence and not to bow to the demands of the Capitol, she defiantly sets out to maintain her integrity while preserving her life, becoming a folk heroine in the districts. The Hunger Games tells the story of her first Hunger Games, Catching Fire has her returning to the Games, and Mockingjay has her leading a rebellion against the Capitol.
|Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss in the movie, releasing in March.|
This series is well-written and engaging and worth a read. Although it's being taught in high schools and middle schools, I'm not sure how much lasting literary value these books have. Will they be read and cherished for many generations? I doubt it. Still, I enjoyed the books, and especially appreciate any time literature promotes resistance to an authoritarian regime. We need more of that!