September 2009; Scholastic; 978-0-439-02349-8 (hardcover)
ARC lent by Liz of Tea Cozy
Since Catching Fire won't come out for nearly two months, and since Scholastic has asked people not to give away any major details of the story, I won't taunt you.
What I will say is that Catching Fire improves and expand upon the world created in The Hunger Games, something I was really struck by since I re-read the first book in the trilogy prior to reading the middle volume. And if you thought the cliffhanger at the end of The Hunger Games was bad? Be prepared for the end of Catching Fire.
Aside: I thought this on a subconscious level when I originally read The Hunger Games, but re-reading it confirmed it: is there anyone out there who thinks Gale is the right person for Katniss? He just seems so . . . undefined to me. It seems his only concern is feeding his family. Which is admirable and important, but otherwise, what does he like? What are his dreams? Compared to Peeta, Gale just feels like a mystery to me. And this impression didn't change after reading Catching Fire.
Yet that's a minor quibble at this point. Suzanne Collins continues to hook readers with a thrill-a-minute story, full of twists and action. There's also quiet moments, where you can sense the weight of everything that's happened pressing down on Katniss. For this series is really about Katniss: her choices, her life. Readers will be happy to enter the arena of Catching Fire, and be left waiting eagerly for book 3.
For anyone going to ALA Annual, if you spy anyone wearing a t-shirt that looks like this one, it just might be me. Come and say hi!