Seventeen year-old Katniss Everdeen has been back home in District 12 for nine months as Book Two of The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins begins. As a Victor in the annual Hunger Games commanded by the cruel and reigning Capitol, Katniss has earned food and luxuries for her small family - at the price of fighting to the death 22 other teens in a fabricated landscape televised for all to see. Katniss, grateful to be home, must now participate in the repugnant Victory tours, however, where one day she spots the sorrowful mother of the young girl, Rue, who allied herself to Katniss in the Games. Katniss gently tells her, "I see her in the yellow flowers that grow in the Meadow by my house. I see her in the mockingjays that sing in the trees." An old man in the crowd whistles Rue's mockingjay tune and everyone else "presses the three middle fingers of their left hand against their lips and extends them" to Katniss. The man who whistled gets a bullet in the head and Katniss is now marked as a traitor to the Capitol and a symbol of hope to the oppressed. Will Katniss lead a revolution? While the reader awaits all sorts of mutiny, the unbelievable worst occurs. Thrilling and horrific, Catching Fire embodies suspense, color and compassion. Other books for teen readers which present a dystopian nation include The Giver by Lois Lowry and The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer.
Recommended by Valerie Owens