Thursday, October 14, 2010

SLIS 5420 - Module 8 - Catching Fire

Module 8 - Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Collins, Suzanne.  Catching Fire. Scholastic Press, 2009. ISBN: 978-0-439-02349-8

This book is the sequel to The Hunger Games. So anything I say here will definitely be a spoiler for the first book. Don't read any further if you don't want to be spoiled.
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That said, here's the summary.

Katniss Everdeen who was one of the winners of last year's Hunger Games is preparing with Peeta and Haymitch to do the district tour. This isn't the usual tour: Peeta and Katniss are the only two to win the Hunger Games together. Their act of rebellion at the end of the first book (intentional or not) has set off insurrections throughout the various districts. President Snow even pays a visit to Katniss to scare her into submission. It almost works.... but things never go as Katniss or President Snow plan. Katniss has become a symbol of hope to many: the Mockingjay that wasn't ever meant to exist.

When Katniss and Peeta are ready to hear about the next Hunger Games, the Quarter Quell, they can't believe what happens. The Quarter Quell is particularly mean-spirited and very much aimed at Katniss and Peeta, denying them any hope or any happiness.

What I Thought
I've read this book twice now. Both times, I couldn't put the book down in the third part. I had to keep reading. I had to keep following Katniss' journey. I had to stay with her.

Katniss is an amazing character. She is intelligent, brave and resourceful. Her solution for the win at the end of the first book--that she and Peeta would either commit suicide together by eating the berries or see if the Game Master would let both of them win was amazing. However, her actions have set off rebellions in various districts. She never wanted to be a symbol of the rebellion, but she became one. Things get even worse by the end of the novel.

This story amazing. Katniss feels very real. Her hurts, her fears, her hopes all seem tangible. She is the narrator and we get to know her so well. She feels her short-comings and hates them. She tries to use her strengths not only to her own advantage, but also to the advantage of those she loves and cares for.

I came to know Katniss through the first book. In the second novel, there is a lot of action, a lot of scares and plenty of twists and turns. I have heartily recommended this book to everyone I know and I wish everyone would read it. It's about freedom. It's about fairness and justice and it's about being human.

Outside Reviews
"...the Hunger Games are fast approaching, and since this is the seventy-fifth anniversary, these Games will be a quarter Quell, an opportunity for the Capitol to add a cruel twist. This year’s twist seems particularly so, but Katniss and company are equal to it. The plot kicks into another gear as the fascinating horrors of the Hunger Games are re-enacted with their usual violence and suspense. Many of the supporting characters—each personality distinct—offer their own surprises. The stunning resolution reveals the depth of the rebellion, while one last cliffhanger sets the stage for a grand finale. Collins has once again delivered a page-turning blend of plot and character with an inventive setting and provocative themes."

J., H. (2009). Catching Fire. Horn Book Magazine, 85(5), 555. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database.

"Catching Fire begins where The Hunger Games (Scholastic, Inc., 2ÜO8) ends. The story is told by Katness Everdeen, who survived the games in the fírst book, where the winner was the person who has killed the other participants, Katness manipulated the Gamemasters so that she and the boy Peeta, her competitor, both lived. Through her actions in the previous games and the Victory Tour, Katness becomes the symbol of the rebellion in the Districts to overthrow the cruel Capitol. After the Victory Tour, the government leaders announce that the living winners of previous Hunger Games are required to fight each other. As the book ends, Peeta has been captured and is in the Capitol, and the Districts are in rebellion again. This fast-paced book is filled with action and intrigue. Katness is a resourceful 16-year-old who strives to take care of her family and friends. Although the story seems to take place in the future, the reader can readily identify with its believable characters. Because Katness tells the story, we understand why she makes certain decisions. This book would appeal to readers who identity with action heroes who work to fight injustice."

(2010). Catching Fire. Library Media Connection, 28(4), 72. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database.

Using this book in the library
Many libraries have been participating in their own versions of the Hunger Games. I heard about this at a workshop I attended recently that revolved around games and libraries.We never did find out exactly what they did in their own Hunger Games. So, I thought about how I would construct my own idea of The Hunger Games. It would be a four hour long program. Teens would be grouped into 12 different groups representing the 12 districts. There would be a lottery and 1 male and 1 female "tribute" would be chosen. At this point, the groups would collaborate to design outfits for their tributes. Then, they will present their tributes to the rest of the group where we would have a paintball contest in the parking lot "to the death." Winners receive excellent prizes and everyone would leave with a book of their choice.

For fun:
Visit the "official" Hunger Games website, If you are even a casual fan of the Hunger Games trilogy, you'll enjoy this site. There is fan-art, fan-made videos, biographies and information about the upcoming movie.

Make sure you watch the excellent fan-made-trailers. My favorite is this one:

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