The Hunger Games

6 min readJan 18, 2024


It is difficult to forget the hold that the dystopian genre had on pop culture, and Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins helped lead it with her book series and films. Through the years we have had many literary heroes, but when pop culture was full of Bellas and Zoeys in vampire teen fiction, Katniss Everdeen rose up to become a hero in an unjust and very violent world. Growing up we learn the distinction early on about what truly makes a hero, and recently scholar and Harvard professor of German Romanticism, folklore, children’s literature, and cultural studies, Maria Tatar dismantled Joseph Campbell’s A Hero’s Journey in her The Heroine with 1,001 Faces. Campbell was a literature professor in the Comparative Mythology and Comparative Religion departments at Sarah Lawrence College and he demonstrated a black and white look at gender; men were the only heroes and women were only mothers and goddesses.

Tatar writes in her introduction: “Today we are reframing many stories and histories from times past, recognizing that women were also able to carry out superhuman deeds… It requires not just intelligence and courage, but also care and compassion: all the things it takes to be a true heroine.” Katniss is both hunter and mother for her family. Self-sacrificing herself in order to keep her sister safe and helping other tributes, culminating in her well-deserved epithet as the “girl who was on fire,” leading a revolution against the Capitol.

Readers looking to recapture some of the feeling of the Hunger Games trilogy might enjoy the following books:

A star-crossed romance and a dystopian world, in what was once Chile, Rumi Sabzwari has spent his entire life safe behind the armored walls of St. Iago, which protects citizens of the Union of Upper Cities from the outside world’s environmental devastation. When his father is deliberately infected with a fatal virus by the rebel faction Las Oscuras, Rumi crosses over to the forbidden Lower City of Paraíso, desperate to find a cure. It is there where he meets fifteen-year-old Paz Valenzuela-Valenzuela. Paraíso is a city ravaged by climate change, pandemics, and poverty, and like many in her environmentally toxic community, brown-skinned Latine Paz is disabled. As they travel together, Rumi finds himself drawn to Paz, but she knows more about Rumi’s father’s illness than she’s saying and has her own agenda.

It is the near future and time for executions. Citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the prison island Alcatraz 2.0. When seventeen-year-old Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim for a crime she didn’t commit. Dee and her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, have to prove that she is innocent before she ends up wrongfully murdered for the world to see.

Climate change and famine almost ended humanity at the end of the 21st century, but the discovery of Klujns, a humanoid species with strange, colored eyes and even stranger abilities has made them saviors and prey as they are used as tools and eaten for protein. 16 year old Ava is among the hostages taken to the Klujns’ annual Blood Race, where young human hostages compete to the death for Klujn amusement, but not everything is as it seems when Ava realizes there is more to the Klujn tribe.

Emmett Atwater is no stranger to poverty and need in Detroit, so when an opportunity for wealth the rest of his life and a kidney transplant for his dying mom arrives, he jumps at the opportunity. The Babel Corporation is recruiting for a space mission to the planet, Eden, where they’ll mine a substance called nyxia, “the new black gold.” However, Emmett is shocked to find that the corporation is forcing them into brutal competitions with one another and he can only hope for his return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family, if he survives.

Every 20 years seven families are locked into a curse tournament, providing a child every 20 years to fight for exclusive control over it. The winner gets exclusive control over a secret wellspring of high magick, the most powerful resource in the world that was thought to be gone. Unfortunately a tell-all book draws reporters, tourists, and government agents to Ilvernath to watch the bloody tournament unfold as some become villains instead of heroes.

Inspired by West African folklore, the Solstasia festival is a chance for Malik to escape his oppressed and war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. Karina is the reluctant crown princess of Ziran, and her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated. Both paths cross as Malik’s sister gets abducted by an evil spirit and his only choice is to kill grief-stricken Karina, but Karina has her own deadly plan as she decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic. As attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, both must find a way to make their plans work or risk their loved ones.

Photo by Nicolai Dürbaum on Unsplash


What is Your Fate in the World of the Hunger Games?

1. What is your favorite meal of the day?

a. Delicious warm food you can steal from a clueless victim

b. Meal? Whatever you can find at this point

c. Any meal where you can catch any game in your snares and pick non-poisonous berries

d. Pick a favorite?! You love eating all meals, and then extras after you finish vomiting for more

2. The love of your life has asked you to marry them, what do you say?

a. Accept and try to get them to help you plan the demise of the Capital

b. Reject them because you’re scared you two won’t make it

c. Accept and train together for the reaping because together you are stronger

d. Joyously accept as your parents throw you a grandiose wedding with all you can eat and drink

3. Your best friend has just been selected as tribute to go fight in the next Hunger Games. How do you react?

a. Riot and take a Peacekeeper’s gun

b. Volunteer as tribute in their place although you lack the will to kill and resolve to get everyone to lay down their weapons

c. Volunteer as tribute. You’ve been training for this your entire life and can’t wait to steal the glory from your friend

d. What do you mean your best friend has been selected as tribute? You must have been dreaming because you live in the capital and have your entire life ahead of you.

4. The Games have officially begun and the cornucopia is in sight, what are you doing first?

a. Curse the games and every politician watching

b. Hesitate and wonder if you should grab the backpack instead of the food. But what if there’s food already in the backpack?

c. Snag a tent pack and run for it

d. You’re enjoying your meal as you watch from the big screen with the rest of the crowd

5. Your end has come, how do you go out?

a. End? You’d flee before that happens

b. Hide and hope you are unseen

c. Go down fighting

d. Eat all your favorites and plan a grand ceremony

Scroll down for your fate!

Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash

What is Your Fate in the World of the Hunger Games?

If you got mostly a’s you are an …


If you got mostly b’s, your fate was…

Death in the arena

If you got mostly c’s, you can call yourself a…

Future victor

If you got mostly d’s, you can look forward to…

Many happy vomit parties in the capitol

This blog is created by Hannah, Ella, and Maria in conjunction with the These Books Made Me podcast, a Prince George’s County Memorial Library System production. Check out the corresponding episode on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you normally listen to podcasts.