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‘Hunger Games’ makes for good reading

July 8, 2012
By LESLIE LETUSICK - Copy editor ( , The Herald-Star

Not wanting to fall behind like I did with the "Twilight Saga," I started reading "The Hunger Games" just as the first movie hit the theaters. I can sum the entire series up in one word: awesome.

I had no idea what the book would be about when I first picked it up. All I knew was it was best-seller and a must-read for "Twilight" fans (which I am, in case you haven't noticed.) So, I bought the first book while my son and I were out shopping one day. When I bought the first one, I debated whether or not to just get the second one. I did not and came to regret it.

I read the first book cover to cover in eight hours. I could not put it down. When I finished, I sat wishing I had purchased "Catching Fire," the next book. I finally got it a few days later as a Mother's Day gift. I read it front to back in seven hours. When my husband and son took me shopping for my flowers for my garden, I purchased "Mockingjay," the third and final book. I also read it in eight hours. Yes, you could say I really liked the books.

"The Hunger Games," the first of the series by Suzanne Collins, is about teenagers who are forced into an arena and must fight to the death, with only one child surviving, as the rest of the nation is forced to watch. Gruesome? Brutal? Yes. I have not seen the movie on the big screen yet, but I can only image how the director brought the deaths of 22 teenagers to life for theaters. Because of a love story that comes out before the games begin, the creators allow two children to survive. These two children become the focus of the nation and hence, the other books.

How the games work: There are 12 districts, and two contestants from each, one boy and one girl, are chosen to fight to the death. They are put into an arena constructed by the creators, which is full of disasters. The nation watches on television as the 24 teens fight until there is one man or woman standing. The games were started because the 13th District disobeyed the Capitol, the leaders. This was their way to show the other districts not to even try it, to remind them of their place.

Katniss of District 12 is the main character. She steps up and takes her younger sister's place in the games because she knows her sister had no chance. Peeta is the male chosen to go. During the interview process for the games, it is revealed that Peeta is in love with Katniss. The audience loves it.

Once the games begin, the creators change the rules to allow two contestants to win IF they are from the same district. Katniss had once been fighting alone, but when she hears the news, she finds an injured Peeta and nurses him back to health. The final two contestants are indeed Peeta and Katniss. Then, to their dismay, the creators change the rules back to allow only one winner. What are they do to? Peeta and Katniss have played up their love story and are the new Romeo and Juliet. One surely can't kill the other. No, Katniss won't let that happen. She disobeys the creators, and she and Peeta plan to eat poison berries and both die, which the creators cannot have. Once they realize her plan, they again decide to allow both to win.

Katniss becomes the enemy because she disobeyed the leaders, just as District 13 had done. She also becomes an icon that starts the war between the Capitol and the Districts. Everyone looks up to her. Everyone believes in her. The Capitol tries many times to take her out and fails.

In addition to having the weight of saving everyone on her shoulders, Katniss also must face the love triangle she is involved in. Peeta loves her. Her friend Gale loves her. Who does she love? She comes to learn the answer is Peeta.

In the end, she, with the help of some friends, aids in freeing the districts from under the Capitol's thumb. She and Peeta live happily ever after back in their home, District 12.

These books are amazing. In my opinion, you are missing out if you don't read them.

Now, I have been told I need to read "Fifty Shades of Gray." To read or not to read???

(Letusick, a resident of Rayland, is a copy editor for The Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

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