The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Now. I see the Newbery here. And I totally thought it was nominated, but after searching the internet, it looks like it wasn’t! Say what now?!
A quick run down, if you haven’t heard about this book – after a rebellion against the Capital, the remaining 12 Districts have to send two Tributes (a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18) to participate in the Hunger Games, a reality television show in which the children fight to the death.
It is amazing. I tore through it almost in one sitting because there was just no good pausing point. The plot is constantly going, always moving forward and because the stakes are impossibly high, I was left almost breathless several times.
I’ll admit that my immediate reaction to Katniss (the main character) was not entirely pleasant, but once we got to the reaping, I was sold. And Peeta – I have conflicting feelings about Peeta, which were not helped by the plot’s twists and turns (Collins has created such complex, real characters that I, like Katniss, really wasn’t sure of motivations, who to trust, etc.).
And I knew that there were more books to come, so when the Hunger Games ended, I wasn’t sure what would be left to cover, but the nail-biting climax to the Games suddenly gives the series a deeper thread to follow. And I cannot wait to see what happens next. I know there are ARCs floating around out there (you lucky bastards!), I may have to start trolling eBay to see if any turn up there. I don’t know if I can wait until September 1!
My rating: A+
p.s. – It’s in first person, present tense, which I often associate with angsty fanfiction, but it totally works here – I didn’t even realise what I was reading until I was about halfway through. The immediacy of it is very appropriate to the action and just hooks you and never lets up.