It’s been five years since Suzanne Collins released her incredible science fiction novel, The Hunger Games. Back on September 14, 2008, the book was published for the very first time. And since that day, more than 20 million—yes, 20 million!—copies of The Hunger Games book have been sold. Collins also turned The Hunger Games into a trilogy by writing a second Hunger Games book, Catching Fire, in 2009, and a third Hunger Games book, Mockingjay, in 2010. As a result, The Hunger Games is one of the best-selling books of all time right now.
The success of the novel has also translated really well to the silver screen. In 2012, a movie called The Hunger Games based on the first book was released to the world. And it was an instant success, setting an opening day record at the box office for a non-sequel by scoring more than $150 million in sales. A sequel to that movie, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is due out on November 21, 2013.
So what is it about the entire The Hunger Games experience that makes it so darn good? As we prepare to celebrate the original book’s five-year anniversary, we came up with a list of the 10 reasons why we love The Hunger Games. If you’re not up on the book—or the movie—yet, these reasons should explain exactly why The Hunger Games has turned into such a big deal.
Reason #1: It only takes about 20 pages to get into the first The Hunger Games book.
We will admit: You will probably have no idea what’s going on when you first pick up a copy of The Hunger Games. You’ll probably ask yourself, “What is this ‘reaping’ that they keep talking about?” But we can guarantee that by the time you start chapter 2, you will be hooked.
Reason #2: It’s fun to think about what North America might look like in the future while reading The Hunger Games.
We definitely don’t want it to look like it does in The Hunger Games! But we’re so used to what North America looks like in the present day that we don’t often think of what it could become in the future. So it’s crazy to hear about each “District” in The Hunger Games—and even crazier to see North America (or Panem as it’s called in the Hunger Games books) in the movie!
Reason #3: The Hunger Games book is incredibly easy to read.
If you’ve ever read a review of The Hunger Games, then you’ve probably heard phrases like “Greek mythology,” “Roman gladiatorial games,” and “science fiction” get tossed around very loosely. And we admit that those phrases can be a little off-putting. Who wants to spend time reading 300+ pages about that? Our advice: Don’t let those phrases fool you. In addition to Greek mythology, Suzanne Collins also used reality TV for inspiration for the book. The result is a book that’s very fun and easy to read.
Reason #4: The Hunger Games got glowing reviews from Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer, and more.
That’s right, the best-selling horror novelist and the creator of Twilight both enjoyed the book so much that they gave it positive reviews. Rick Riordan, the author of Percy Jackson & The Olympians book series, also called it the “closest thing to a perfect adventure novel.” And we would have to agree with that assessment.
Reason #5: The first-person perspective of The Hunger Games really helps readers to connect with each individual character.
When you read—and later watch—The Hunger Games, you’ll be amazed at just how much you care about the safety and well-being of the lead character Katniss Everdeen. Katniss (played by Jennifer Lawrence in the film version of The Hunger Games) walks you through The Hunger Games story and tells you about life from her perspective. And that will really help you to feel connected to the other characters in the book and movie as well as the story as a whole.
Reason #6: As we just mentioned, Jennifer Lawrence is in the film version of The Hunger Games.
We loved The Hunger Games way before the film version of it came out. But when we finally got to see it on the big screen…wow. No one—and we do mean no one—wields a bow and arrow quite like Jennifer Lawrence. She really helped to bring the story to life in the first movie, and we’re looking forward to seeing what she’s able to do in the second one soon.
Reason #7: The film version of The Hunger Games stays true to the book.
When Hollywood decided to turn The Hunger Games into a book, Suzanne Collins insisted on helping turn the book into a movie herself. So you won’t watch The Hunger Games after reading the book and think, “Wait…what?!” Unlike many other films based on books, The Hunger Games movie is just as good as the book and follows the plot of the book precisely.
Reason #8: The Hunger Games movie is a big-budget blockbuster that definitely delivers.
After Suzanne Collins delivered a spectacular book trilogy, there were a number of things that could have gone wrong with the movie. The director of the film Gary Ross could have taken the movie in a different direction than the book (as we mentioned, he fortunately didn’t do that!). The film also could have gotten bogged down by too many special effects. But that didn’t happen, either. Instead, everyone involved with the film turned the movie’s reported $80 million budget into a masterpiece that was really enjoyable to watch. Just check out the trailer above.
Reason #9: The Hunger Games soundtrack is excellent.
The soundtrack, which was called The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond, featured tracks by Arcade Fire, Maroon 5, Kid Cudi, and more. But the standout song was Taylor Swift’s “Safe & Sound.” It won a Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media earlier this year.
Reason #10: There is more of The Hunger Games to come…
Suzanne Collins didn’t write one good book and then capitalize off the success of it by putting out two more books of lesser quality. She wrote an entire trilogy that is solid from beginning to end. So once you finish The Hunger Games book and watch The Hunger Games movie, there is still more to devour—specifically, the Hunger Games book sequel Catching Fire and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire film that will be out in November. What’s not to love about that?