Imagine living a life of poverty, having to hunt for food just to stay alive. And imagine that hunting, or even going to the woods for prey, is illegal and punishable by torture and even death. Would you do anything to live a life of luxury? Would you kill? What if you were forced to?
That is what happens to Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, a book for ages 12 and up. In Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins’ exciting sequel (also for ages 12 and up), Katniss faces even more danger as she deals with her horrific victory in the games.
The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a single government rules over the 12 large districts of Panem. In the past, the districts tried to rebel against the Capitol but failed. A 13th district was destroyed by a nuclear bomb as a lesson to the rest of the people.
The Hunger Games were then established as a more long-term reminder of the price of rebellion: peace through fear. The annual games require one boy and one girl from each of the 12 remaining districts to fight to the death in an arena rigged with horrific dangers. The last person alive wins.
Catching Fire picks up the story with Katniss back in her home district in a new, luxurious house with plenty of food for her mom and little sister. Fear and danger are still very much part of her life, however, as she struggles to keep her family and her partner in the Hunger Games, Peeta Mellark, safe. It seems her unconventional win at the Hunger Games is sparking thoughts of revolution in the districts.
Will Katniss be forced to marry Peeta just to keep her family safe? Does she really love Peeta? Can she survive another Hunger Games? Will she overcome her fear and reluctance to help in a new rebellion? Only some of your questions will be answered, as there is yet another book in this promised trilogy. (I, for one, can’t wait.)
The 400-page book is full of characters you can easily relate to and identify with. In terms of plot, the book progresses at a rapid pace, grabbing your attention and never letting go, even after the last page is turned.
I recommend this series to anyone looking for a captivating read you just can’t put down. Catching Fire is a roller coaster filled with excitement, suspense, and absolute wonder. It is perfect for both teens and adults.
— Quinn Jacobson, former Scholastic Kid Reporter