Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mockingjay - Re-read

How does one even begin to sum up the emotional roller coaster that is the end to the Hunger Games series?  In this book, we find Katniss safely ensconced within the walls of District 13, the headquarters for the rebellion against the Capital.  Once again, Katniss is expected to play a role in other people's agendas and, once again, she refuses to play by anyone's rules but her own.  As the rebellion wears on, Katniss struggles against the capital, her own inner turmoil and the morality of what she must do.

Within the pages of this book, more so than either of the others, we trespass on Katniss' inner thoughts, feelings and fears as she faces the suffering brought on (at least in part) by her actions.  Unlike many in the YA genre, Suzanne Collins presents a character who is often unstable, emotional and all together, human.  It is this that sets her apart from many YA authors.  Her characters have realistic weaknesses that they overcome not once but over and over again, facing the very worst in themselves and crawling, bloody and broken from abyss of self-loathing in order to fight for the people that they love.

Mockingjay does not shy away from the big issues, exploring humanity, and our ability to inflict pain and suffering of the highest caliber in the name of whatever cause we believe to be just.  In forcing the reader to question their own belief system,  Collins displays a confidence in her reader's ability to think critically.  She never panders to young adults or assumes that she needs to spell out her message so that they will "get it".  An increasing number of YA authors and publishers do not show this same level of respect for their readers.

Mockingjay not only presents an action packed and emotional ride, but it also forces us to examine our view of the world and the atrocities that play out every day in our own backyards and around the globe. 

Age: 13 and up
Gender: Both
Sex: None
Violence: Beatings, Use of guns and other weapons, many, many deaths due to violent means.
Inappropriate Language: None
Substance Abuse: Alcohol abuse by an adult.  Discussion of addiction to painkillers.
Other Issues: Contemplation of suicide


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