When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim's warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping.
I prop myself up on one elbow. There's enough light in the bedroom to see them. My little sister, Prim, curled up on her side, cocooned in my mother's body, their cheeks pressed together. In sleep, my mother looks younger, still worn but not so beaten-down. Prim's face is as fresh as a raindrop, as lovely as the primrose for which she was named.
My mother was very beautiful once, too. Or so they tell me.
Sitting at Prim's knees, guarding her, is the world's ugliest cat. Mashed-in nose, half of one ear missing, eyes the color of rotting squash. Prim named him Buttercup, insisting that his muddy yellow coat matched the bright flower. He hates me. Or at least distrusts me. Even though it was years ago, I think he still remembers how I tried to drown him in a bucket when Prim brought him home. Scrawny kitten, belly swollen with worms, crawling with fleas. The last thing I needed was another mouth to feed. But Prim begged so hard, cried even, I had to let him stay. It turned out okay. My mother got rid of the vermin and he's a bornmouser. Even catches the occasional rat. Sometimes, when I clean a kill, I feed Buttercup the entrails. He has stopped hissing at me.
Entrails. No hissing. This is the closest we will ever come to love.
I swing my legs off the bed and slide into my hunting boots. Supple leather that has molded to my feet. I pull on trousers, a shirt, tuck my long dark braid up into a cap, and grab my forage bag. On the table, under a wooden bowl to protect it from hungry rats and cats alike, sits a perfect little goat cheese wrapped in basil leaves. Prim's gift to me on reaping day. I put the cheese carefully in my pocket as I slip outside.
Our part of District 12, nicknamed the Seam, is usually crawling with coal miners heading out to the morning shift at this hour. Men and women with hunched shoulders, swollen knuckles, many who have long since stopped trying to scrub the coal dust out of their broken nails, the lines of their sunken faces. But today the black cinder streets are empty. Shutters on the squat gray houses are closed. The reaping isn't until two. May as well sleep in. If you can.
Our house is almost at the edge of the Seam. I only have to pass a few gates to reach the scruffy field called the Meadow. Separating the Meadow from the woods, in fact enclosing all of District 12, is a high chain-link fence topped with barbed-wire loops. In theory, it's supposed to be electrified twenty-four hours a day as a deterrent to the predators that live in the woods - packs of wild dogs, lone cougars, bears - that used to threaten our streets.
Copyright (c) 2009 by Suzanne Collins
In the ruins of North America lies the nation of Panem, 12 districts ruled by a central Capitol. As punishment for a long-ago uprising, the Capitol forces each district to send one boy and one girl, ages 12 to 18, to take part in the annual Hunger Games—a fight to the death on live TV.
When her younger sister’s name is called, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her place. But even Katniss, a skilled hunter with bow and arrow, regards it as a death sentence. If she is to win, she must start making choices that weigh survival against humanity...and life against love.
A searing coming-of-age novel set in a post-apocalyptic future, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a fast-paced read with a message for our times.
Hardcover Book : 384 pages
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. ( September 14, 2008 )
Item #: 12-854445
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.865inches
Product Weight: 15.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
I read A LOT, and have read many sci-fis from golden era, etc., and just loved them. So I didn't find this original. Not with too many reality shows all over tv today. I mean, if you wanted to twist it into futuristic horror this is pretty much what you'd come up with. Also thought it was violent and sad just to be sensational. Felt anti-climatic and not real. And I found Katniss hard to relate to. I know this review is going to be met by a lot negativity and displeasure, but I'm just giving my honest opinion. I've got a whole stack of favorites on similar theme, but this won't be joining them.
Reviewer: Etta D
I did not know it was ment for youth readers, it does not read at all that way. It is very hard to stop reading even when I have to. I am now ordering as "buy now" the next two books in series.
Reviewer: George H
This was great- an easy read but captivating. Can't wait to read more by this author!
Reviewer: kelly s
My nephew recommended this book so I thought I'd give it a shot. It was hard to put down! I didn't realize it was geared to a young adult audience until I googled it to find the next book in the series. I'm 56 years old and am looking forward to receiving "Catching Fire"
Finally a writer with talent and an interesting and original story all in the same book! I am loving this series and reading late into the night, because I just can't stop!
Reviewer: Barb L