Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


Finally book 3 has come out! The Hunger Games proved to me that young adult books can’t be smart, emotional (without being over the top), and incredibly dark while still being appealing. Catching Fire confirmed it and showed how a talented writer could revisit a plot and have it be very similar but still keep it fresh and exciting. And now book 3 shows how to carry it through to the big, dramatic conclusion.

In case you missed it: The Hunger Games is about a divided society. The Capital rules with an iron thumb and with all the luxuries while it lives off of the districts, which provide supplies and provisions. Each district is responsible for a specific commodity and have far less than they need to live comfortably (much less decently). There used to be thirteen districts, but when thirteenth rebelled, they were supposedly eradicated. There are rumors that they survived, but no one knows for sure. As a result of the rebellion, the hunger games were created. A boy and a girl from each district are selected in a fight to the death that is televised for entertainment.

That’s the background, but the heart of the story revolves around Katniss who has been helping support her family since her father was killed in a mining accident. When she ends up in the hunger games, her behavior sparks a rebellion that she never anticipated but now must become the inspiration for.

The final book deals largely with Katniss’s struggle to fit into her new role as the Mockingjay, the symbol of the rebellion and overcome her guilt over her hunger games partner, Peeta’s capture.

This is one of the few books that has ever made me cry (I can count the number on one hand so it is saying something). Everything about the book is compelling, from the characters to the plot. You can relate to the teenage sorrow and indecisiveness as Katniss tries to decide between Peeta and Gail. And though I wish we’d seen more of Prim, you relate to the sisters’ relationship too.

One of the most brilliant aspects of this book is the way it targets television and materialism. It’s as much a commentary on society as anything else. The use of tv spots for propaganda only adds to the drama.

I’m a sucker for society gone wrong novels and this is one of the best I’ve read. My biggest concern: what’s next for Suzanne?

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