This review was first posted on Music, Books and TeaI never intended to read The Hunger Games. Crazy, I know. It just didn't appeal to me, I couldn't see what all the hype was about, so I just resolved to not read it. Man, do I feel like a gooseberry now! I can't believe I let some silly misconception stop me from reading this absolutely superb book. I can see why this wouldn't appeal to some people. The idea is a tough topic to deal with from the off: 24 kids being selected to kill each other until there's only one left standing? The idea of that happening in today's world is pretty unfathomable, yet for Katniss, this was her norm. She was used to The Hunger Games being broadcast every year, she was used to watching kids from her District die, all because seventy-five years previous, a rebellion happened that led to the Capitol destroying District 13, and punishing those from the remaining districts by reminding them that the Capitol still had power over them. Personally, I loved Katniss. She did what she had to do to help her family survive, even if that meant illegally poaching in the forest with her friend, Gale. I loved her grit and determination in the Games themselves, she was determined to make good of her promise to not only Prim, but Rue as well. I really admired the way that Katniss wanted to protect all of the people she loved and cared for, we see her do this throughout the entire book, from when Katniss volunteers to take Prim's place in the Games, to Katniss killing another competitor without a thought after he shot Rue, to Katniss nursing Peeta back to health and risking her life in doing so. I found Katniss to be a very strong heroine, she was certainly not a 'damsel in distress'! And Peeta, how sweet was he? Right from reading his back story about how he saved Katniss' family from starvation and got beaten for it, I was a member of Team Peeta. I nearly squealed out loud when I read his declaration of love for Katniss, and I found myself wanting to beat Katniss (but not really, because she'd probably destroy me with a single look!) for not realising her true feelings for Peeta! The Hunger Games had me hooked from the very beginning, I had to know what was going to happen next, I had to know how Katniss and Peeta were going to react, I just had to know everything! There was nothing slow-paced about this book at all, and, what's more terrifying, there was nothing too unbelievable in the book for me either. It was so easy to imagine that Panem and the Hunger Games really existed, that children were forced to fight to the death and that it was compulsory viewing for everyone too. I really have to credit Collins's writing style for that.Overall, The Hunger Games is an absolutely fantastic book that I would really recommend to anyone and everyone. It's really easy to see why this is one of the most popular series in Young Adult literature.