Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publication Date: 2009
Why I Read It
I read the first book- The Hunger Games- and saw the movie. How could I NOT read the next book? In fact, after I downloaded this book and Mockingjay, MiniQ decided to read them and I was barred from reading them for a couple of days while she finished both in record time…LOL Finally, last week I was able to read it and finished it within a few days.
Short Synopsis (no spoilers for Catching Fire BUT may be for The Hunger Games)
Sparks are igniting, flames are spreading and the Capitol wants revenge.
After Katniss and Peeta are allowed to win the games together, they are sent back home to District 12 to share the victory with their home district. Katniss struggles to fit into her new world, one where she is a Victor and only she, Peeta, and Haymitch have any idea of what it cost to become a Victor. She struggles to make sense of her world now and with the her friendships with Gale and Peeta. Then she is forced to recognize her part in the rebellions that are rising throughout the Districts against the Capitol. To quell the rebels, President Snow has commanded her to make sure the Districts see the love her and Peeta share is real and a reason for celebration, which he hopes will bring the rebellions to a halt.
It becomes increasingly clear to Katniss that President Snow is in control of everything surrounding the Games and more. With the Quarter Quell, a special set of Games to “celebrate” the peace and harmony of Panem, comes a shocking surprise. One which sends too many lives, once thought safe, back into danger. From these trials, Katniss rises to the occasion and begins to embrace her role as a leader to a rebellion she knows is needed.
What I Liked
“Not only are we in the districts forced to remember the iron grip of the Capitol’s power each year, we are forced to celebrate it.” Katniss
Through Katniss’ voice we still experience her internal struggles through the madness known as Panem and the Games. Her voice paints the picture of how one struggles with ones internal and external existence.
“I mourn my old life here. We barely scraped by, but I knew where I fit in…” Katniss
She struggles with knowing who she was and now, having to discover who she is and how she fits into the world around her. She fights, from the very beginning, to not be forced to be anything or anyone other than Katniss Everdeen. She does not want to be a symbol for a rebellion. She does not want to be forced into a relationship with Peeta, or with Gale, for that matter.
“I outsmarted his sadistic Hunger Games, made the Capitol look foolish, and consequently undermined his control.” Katniss
But, in order for her to discover who she is in this new world, she must admit to her power as a symbol. A symbol for a rebellion Gale has been talking about since they first met, a rebellion she is supposed to quash, a rebellion which could change the world she lives in even more. The book, the whole series, takes a look at politics and how control by one can corrupt the very existence of what was supposed to be good. It examines a rebellion and the roles played by those within a rebellion. Those roles come with a price–a price Katniss was never willing to play, but is forced into. It’s a role which causes those around her to hurt.
“The bird, the pin, the song, the berries, the watch, the cracker, the dress that burst into flames. I am the mockingjay. The one that survived despite the Capitol’s plans. The symbol of the rebellion.” Katniss
I read this novel for enjoyment, but as a teacher, my mind is always looking for lessons/themes/ideas to use in my classroom or even with my own daughters. Here are some valuable lessons/ideas I look forward to using in my classroom:
- Dystopian society’s and how they can come into being
- Use of Collins’ writing style–voice–I cannot stress how hard it is to teach voice and audience to students. This book is so well written in Kat’s voice and can be used to show students how to model similar writing.
What I Didn’t Like
The love triangle aspect still bothers me and I have several plausible outcomes worked out in my head. One of which forces Katniss to choose one, because the other doesn’t make it. We will see . . . LOL
- Anyone who loved The Giver
- Dystopian novel lovers
- Love Triangle lovers (not me 😦 )
- YA Readers–that includes teachers!