I love it when I reread a book and enjoy as much as or more than the first time I read it. Such was the case with Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, which I first read back in 2012, when the first movie came out. Back then, a bookseller at a Barnes & Noble pushed the book in my hands and told me to read it. I did as soon as I bought it and couldn’t stop. I was so hooked.
This time, it was the movie that made me nostalgic and drove me to read it. I saw the movie while on vacation in Mexico – I think it was in Spanish – and when I got home, I grabbed the book and started to read it. Again, I was hooked and couldn’t part with the book for long. My dad saw me reading it and I learned a fun fact about him: The Hunger Games is one of his favorite movies. 🙂
The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.
When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature. (Goodreads)
I won’t share much since I’ve done a previous review on this novel when I first read it. I just have a few new thoughts that I’d like to share/record for my future self, who might wonder what were the new things I thought when I read The Hunger Games a second time.
Well, future self, the first thought was “I can’t believe this book has me hooked again!” and the last one was “I wonder if Cinna is short for Cinnabun.” I meant cinnamon there, but because I am hungry and thinking of something sweet while I write this review (it’s a cold Sunday morning…you know what’s up), my mind immediately jumped to cinnabun. You, of course, understand, future self. Anyway, my extra thoughts on the book. I’ll just list them.
- I’m still upset that we don’t learn much about Peeta’s home life. This really bothered me when I read Catching Fire shortly after completing The Hunger Games back in 2012. We are given a few details and incidents, but I still want more.
- I wonder what life is like for people in the Capitol. I think we are given more details in Catching Fire as well, but rereading The Hunger Games made me realize how much Katniss does not know. She’s just really lucky so far that her assumptions about what others are thinking and what is happening are all true. I guess it’s evident that Collins is a great storyteller since I’m not annoyed by the impossibility that a teenaged girl who has never before left her district and isn’t exposed to much beyond it knows so much about the dynamics of the Hunger Games and what and how the Gamemakers and people of the Capitol think.
- I love Katniss, I really do, but I’m annoyed that she doesn’t give her mom and sister a chance to prove themselves or simply to show that they can do what’s needed to survive. I also don’t like it when the protagonist in a story uses someone else’s youth/innocence/weakness as a crutch for their motivation. In this, Katniss believes she was protect and preserve Prim’s innocence, which I don’t mind, but in using that as her drive, she sometimes renders Prim as a weak character. That makes me sorry for Prim. She doesn’t get a chance to stand out.
- I did not like the Katniss – Peeta romance on my first read. I like how it’s used to dupe the Gamemakers and people of the Capitol, but I did not ship these two characters. I did not see Peeta as worthy of my Katniss. But now, my opinion has changed a little. You see, before I thought Katniss had no choice but to fall in love with Peeta because of her experience in the Hunger Games. The games pushed them together. Back then I thought her feelings weren’t true but she had no choice but to go where the narrative led. Now I realize that she probably loved Peeta before they entered the Hunger Games. She sees Peeta as a source of hope, quite like how people of the districts will look to her, because he made a sacrifice to help her and her family to survive.
- I shipped Katniss and Gale on my first read. On this read, I noticed the little hints throughout that Gale is probably not the best guy for Katniss. He’s sometimes practical to the point of seeming heartless. He’s too stuck in his way of thinking (there’s a word for that but my mind doesn’t want to tell me what it is. Grr!! Bad mind).
- I’d totally ship Katniss and Cinna; how old is Cinna, by the way?
- Katniss by herself would be awesome too. I like the part where she gets angry with Peeta for saying in his interview that he has a crush on her. She thought that made her look weak, since she didn’t notice his crush.
- My favorite parts:
- Rue’s burial: I choke up every time… Well, this is the second time I’m reading the book, so I choked up twice and on both times my eyes filled themselves with tears. They like to do that at the most inconvenient times.
- When District 11 sent the bread: I don’t remember if this scene meant much to me on my first read (I sped through the book then), but I loved this part because it’s an act of kindness and rebellion and sacrifice and recompense all in one. I teared up here too; my eyes sure love to spill their tears for this book.
I loved it; it’s one of my favorite books; and it was just as great as on my first read. Also, this is one of few, or maybe the only, YA novel with a sort of love triangle that I don’t mind.
Buy | Borrow | Bypass
Yes! You should own a copy too.
P.S.: I’m definitely going to reread Catching Fire as well.