Katniss Everdeen has been taking care of her family ever since her father was killed–before her eyes–by a mine. She, along with her friend Gale, has been illegally sneaking out of her District and into the woods to hunt and bring back the meat necessary for their survival. She does this most of all because of her love for Prim, her younger sister. The day of the Reaping arrives as it does each year, when two children from each District are chosen to fight to the death while being televised to the entire population. Against all odds, Prim is chosen and Katniss knows that she has to protect her sister once again–by taking her place. Coming from District 12, the coal-mining district, Katniss has little chance of winning. District 12 has only won once. But maybe, with a little luck and a surprise alliance Katniss has a shot. If she can get herself to kill her competitors. Especially if she might love one of them.
Collins does an incredible job of weaving this dystopian world where things are run by the Capitol for the best of and the amusement of the Capitol. The one thing the Capitol can be counted on doing is finding ways to remind the Districts that they must obey. Or else.
The characters are so real and sympathetic that it’s hard not to cry at the moment when Prim’s name is reaped. You feel very keenly Katniss’s desperation, confusion, and anger at the things that have befallen her family.
The story is written in first person present, which really threw me at first, since it’s so rare. It took me a while to get used to it and in the beginning I thought I really disliked it. But once I got used to it, I didn’t notice it anymore and it made the rest of the story feel closer and more resounding. I will definitely be picking up Catching Fire as soon as I can get my hands on it (which will likely be after work today). I can’t wait to see what happens next and how Katniss takes to her life after everything.