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, twelve 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 found this book and it's sequel to be spellbinding. I couldn't put it down. This book was stated to be a young adults book but it theme of fighting to the death seemed a little more adult - old teen maybe.
I can't wait for the third book due out in August, 2010.
Suzanne Collins write faster please!!!!!!
This book IS HAUNTING! It played on my heart strings of love, anger, humor and kept me guessing until the very end! I read it in one day and gave it to my teenage daughters to read (they couldn't put it down either). It's a book that leaves you breathless -- I couldn't come up for air fast enough.
so much like our world but so different too. such a well written book, good characters too. i highly recommend this series - i'm looking forward to book 3.
Reviewer: karen j
I am always looking for a great read. I couldn't put the books down. It keeps you turning the pages until late at night. If you like a fast moving books I would recommend the first two books. Can't wait for the final book to come out.
Simply loved this story and characters. Will be glad when the 3rd one comes out. I finished the first in one night and immediately started the 2nd. If you like this book then you will enjoy the "Long Walk" by Stephen King and "The Running Man" by King also. Collins way of writing is superb and the characters are so real. Cudos for Ms. Collins!
Reviewer: Devon R