The Mockingjay

The Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

(Summary taken from the inside book jacket) “Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding. It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans–except Katniss. The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feeling of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay–no matter what the personal cost.”

Wow. What else to say?? This book is very intense and doesn’t end the feelings of depression and sadness that permeate the first two books. I know….I also really hoped it could be happy. Unfortunately for us Ms. Collins didn’t follow that same philosophy. I finished it about 24 hours ago and I am still not sure how I feel about it and especially how I feel about the ending. I kept thinking, “There’s no way she’ll be able to finish this in 100 pages (and then 50, and then 35, and then 15, and then 4, etc.).” I don’t know….it’s very gory and violent, angry and intense. It follows Katniss and the other main characters to a war with the Capitol. She still can’t decide between Peeta and Gale, and it drives me crazy (kind of like Bella in Twilight). There is an ending to that, but I don’t know how I feel about it. I think it is well written and there are some twists, but….if this were a movie I WOULD NOT watch it. There is no way they could make it less than Rated R. So….there you go. Did I help at all?? There are definitely mixed emotions with this book. If you have read the first two then I would recommend it, but with a warning that it is much more violent and angry than the first two (is that possible?). As far as analysis, like the first one mimicking the reality tv craze, it does kind of go into a kind of socialism, with everyone getting the same food, living conditions, clothes, etc. Did I like it? That’s what I don’t know yet…yes and no. Was I happy with the ending? Ummmm, I don’t know. I may need to do an update in a week or so as I ponder my feelings about it. Does this make you want to read it? Haha, sorry…..now you know what you have to look forward to if you read it!

***Addendum: Okay, it has been awhile and I’ve thought a lot about it. Yes, I hated it. It was terrible and I heard someone say that it wasn’t true to Katniss, and I agree. I do wish I had not read it, and I don’t say that very often. My recommendation now: if you liked the series and want to read it–read it with caution and listen to the warnings. Don’t be afraid to just stop mid-book if it starts to disturb you. If you don’t think it sounds like you will like it–don’t read it. Stop reading at number 2 and keep on hoping that something happy and good will come of Katniss and her world.

Rating: R (This doesn’t necessarily follow the movie ratings) It is very violent and it is a war. There are many deaths, and very gruesome ones at that. Think of the Hunger Games with a whole country involved…..

Recommendation: College and up. Geez, I don’t even think high school. It really is hard to read. This is NOT a young adult book.

Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2)

Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins
(Summary taken from the book jacket) “Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol–a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create. Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.”
Wow. That’s all I have to say….wow. This book is VERY intense! It doesn’t start out as intense, but at the end….wow. The last fifty pages go so fast and there is so much happening I had to reread a couple of paragraphs because I wasn’t sure who was doing what, and there was action everywhere. And the ending…..may I say, “What ending?????” She leaves you hanging on for dear life at the end. I hate it when the book doesn’t end…I kept turning the empty pages at the end begging for more. There are so many twists and turns it’s crazy. And I have to wait until WHEN for the next book??? AAAAHHHHHH! It’s going to be a long couple of months. But I digress….I have to give it to Ms. Collins, she did a very good job on this second book. The characters are much more developed and it is very well written. I felt a lot more as if I were there with the people of District 12, as if I were afraid of the Capitol myself, and as if I too had emotions running wild. Once again, how can you love a book full of death and destruction?? I don’t know, but Ms. Collins’ writing just pulls you in and keeps you there. If you were depressed after the first book I would say definitely read the second one. It is still depressing, but the intensity of it overrides the depressing factor. You still have no idea between Gale and Peeta, and NOTHING is finalized, in fact, on the last page there are more questions that haven’t been answered than have, but it is worth reading because there might be a smidgeon of hope??? You’ll have to decide for yourself on that one.
Rating: R (Remember, this rating does not follow the movie ratings. An R rating simply means there are adult themes that I don’t think are appropriate for younger children.)  There is little to no language. Peeta and Katniss kiss and sleep in the same bed for comfort, but nothing inappropriate happens. It is the violence and death that make this book inappropriate for young readers. The themes are very mature and would be hard for a younger reader to understand and deal with.
Recommendation: Senior year of high school and up. Also, I would only recommend it to adults with the above precautions. As with the first book, death and despair are abundant……but I liked it??? Hmmm. Hopefully the third book brings some happiness!

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
(Summary taken from the book jacket) “In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before–and suvival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.”
Wow. Where to start with this book? Interesting idea, right? And depressing? Yes to both. I like Suzanne Collins’ style of writing. It is an easy read, more like a young adult book, but the ideas, the themes, and the events are very mature and not for young audiences. Younger children would be able to read the words but they would not be able to comprehend and handle all that happens. Some of it traumatized me, as an adult, and I do not want my children reading it. The book definitely draws you in. The story is very compelling and you have to know what happens to this girl. This book really made me think about my life. It made me thankful for our country and our freedoms. It made me thankful for food to eat and a very supportive family, and a good job. It also made me take a harder look at reality TV and my reactions to it. Overall I liked the book. I will read the second one. I was very depressed at the end, so don’t read it if you don’t like depressing. Also, there are some very graphic death scenes, so don’t read it if you don’t think you could handle that. I didn’t like that it sucked me in, that I became the person rubber-necking on the freeway to get a glimpse of the accident. I didn’t like that it had that power over me, but it definitely did. But yes, I did like the book and would recommend it with the above precautions.
Rating: R (Remember, this rating does not follow the movie ratings. An R rating simply means there are adult themes that I don’t think are appropriate for younger children.) There is none to very little language. There are no “physical intimacy” scenes, but they do talk about being naked. There are very mature themes and some very graphic death scenes. A lot of people die. (Happy, right???)
Recommendation: Senior year of high school and up. Also, I would only recommend it to adults with the above precautions. See, death and despair……but I liked it??? It kind of makes you think…..what does that say about me????