Books Read in May 2009
Bonny Becker Wins E.B. White Read Aloud Award

Catching Fire: Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire Some of you may recall that on Saturday I was expressing my envy of the lucky people who had received copies of the Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire. I even said: "And perhaps my copy is just slow making it out to California, don't you think?" I thought that I was just being wishful. But no!

Yesterday afternoon, I was feeling a bit under the weather. Not to mention out of sorts because there was no Red Sox game. I was deciding between going to the grocery store to get something to cook for dinner, and lying on the couch with my library book. I decided either way that I should go check the mail first. And lo and behold! On my doorstep was a package from Scholastic containing a much sought-after ARC of Catching Fire.

I brought it inside, opened it up, and started reading within minutes. Mheir, understanding soul that he is (and huge fan of The Hunger Games himself), picked up pizza for dinner, and left me undisturbed to read the book cover to cover. (I did break to eat, but that was all).

The ARC came with heartfelt pleas not to disclose any twists from the book, and not to review it in detail at all until September 1st. The letter from David Levithan begins: "Dear Very Deserving, Very Lucky Reader", and the lucky part is certainly true. I try never to disclose spoilers anyway - I like to go into books knowing as little as possible about the details. But in this case, I will confine myself to a few general comments, and write more around the publication date.

Yes, Catching Fire is worth the wait. It is fabulous. It is compelling and intriguing. I didn't find a single page that dragged. Several twists took me by surprise. I read the last two chapters twice, in rapid succession, and I'm thinking about re-reading the whole thing, now that I understand the twists. (I'll have to give Mheir a turn first, though.) I lay awake after finishing the book, thinking about everything. Even though this is a very plot-driven book, Catching Fire also made me think about some larger societal issues, and made me ponder what I would do in Katniss' situation. I think that the book is a bit deeper than The Hunger Games in this regard. (This is consistent with the dramatic arc in Collins' previous series, the Underland Chronicles.) But, as in The Hunger Games, Katniss rocks!

The only bad thing about reading the ARC now is that now I'm DYING to read the third book. And that's got to be a long ways away. (I won't be surprised if they don't do ARCs at all by then, if the momentum for this series keeps building the way it has been).

If you haven't read The Hunger Games yet, consider yourself lucky. You have two great books ahead of you. If it was me, at this point, I'd wait until late August, then read The Hunger Games and get Catching Fire as soon as it's available (September 1st). I'll be back with more coverage closer to the publication date.

If you have read The Hunger Games, and you're craving more Catching Fire coverage now, here are a few links:

  • Steph at Review X is having a contest to give away a copy of Catching Fire. There are 255 entries to date, and no announced end date for the contest, so hurry over there now. (I entered before receiving my copy. In the unlikely event that I win, I'll just have her pick again.)
  • Scholastic has a new site called The Burning Question, where you can ask questions of Suzanne Collins. Three fan-submitted questions will be answered. More details here.
  • Liz B. has a Catching Fire round-up at Tea Cozy (who got pre-BEA copies, where she's seeing buzz, etc.) Liz is also predicting no ARCs for the next book, though I didn't see her prediction until after I had written mine above.
  • Lisa Chellman reports that Catching Fire has already made the comics.
  • Updated to add: new Catching Fire trailer on YouTube.

This blogging thing does have its perks!

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.