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Survive – or Die!

Three weeks. Three long, agonizing, anxiety-producing, weeks. There are still three whole weeks until the release of the highly-anticipated final book in the Hunger Games series, Mockingjay. Three weeks!

I was doing pretty well there for awhile – I had plenty of other books to distract me. Then I decided to re-read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire in preparation for Mockingjay and now I’m on edge, waiting impatiently to discover just how this roller-coaster of a story will end.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately (and if you have, why are you living under a rock? That’s probably not comfortable – you should get out), then you know that The Hunger Games and its two sequels are some of the biggest books in children’s and YA literature since Harry Potter. The books earned rave reviews from Booklist and The New York Times, Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer and Rick Riordan are fans and the books  spent several weeks on the bestsellers list. There’s even a movie adaptation of the first book already in the works. Though technically labeled as a young adult book, author Suzanne Collins has created a thrilling, suspenseful and highly-detailed dystopian world for anyone who enjoys a good nail-biting story filled with intrigue and adventure.

At the start of the series, readers are introduced to Panem, a nation created from the ashes of North America. Panem is divided into 12 districts and the Capitol region, with a previous, rebellious 13th district shrouded in mystery. Each year, one boy and one girl from each district (known as “tributes”) are forced to participate in The Hunger Games, a televised spectacle that makes The Jersey Shore look like Shakespeare: the tributes must fight to the death in a dangerous arena, while the rest of the country looks on. Collins’ heroine, Katniss, from District 12, takes the place of her younger sister in the games and finds herself in an ever-changing and increasingly sinister battle for her life.

Though I’m sure most Hunger Games fans are already well apprised of the book’s plot points (as well as those from the sequel), I don’t want to give too much away, just in case some of you out there haven’t yet read the books (and if you haven’t – why not? Get cracking!).

I will say that Collins is masterful at creating real tension and concern for her characters. The people on the page spring to live and grab hold of you – you care what happens to them, you care whether or not they live or die. The shadowy, authoritarian Capitol and the Gamemakers  are mysterious and creepy, while President Snow is a perfectly evil villain, changing the rules as they see fit and playing with people’s lives on a whim. Most importantly, Collins has created a world that’s so vastly different from our own and yet feels just as real. The political maneuvering, the Machiavellian plotting and the heart-pounding action are all vivid and tangible. You can feel the emotions of the characters are clearly as if they were standing right next to you.

Much like Harry Potter (and, to a lesser extent Twilight and Percy Jackson), The Hunger Games series has garnered an impressively and passionately devoted fan base. And much like the final books in the HP series, the plot for Mockingjay is a fiercely guarded secret – so secret, in fact, that there are no ARCs available, since Collins and the publishers wanted to be sure everyone – reviewer and average fan alike – had the chance to read the book at the same time.

Which is all well and good, except it still leaves me with THREE WEEKS until I can find out what happens. (Did I mention I’m not an exceptionally patient person?)

Sigh.

Three weeks. That’s only 21 days, 504 hours or 30,240 minutes to go.

P.S. – if you’re as obsessed with The Hunger Games as I am, you should really check out the 13 District Blog Tour Scholastic is organizing. It started yesterday over at Galleysmith and continues for the month of August. 13 blogs, each representing one of Panem’s districts, will be hosting discussions of the series and some seriously great giveaways. Do not miss out on the chance to win some swag and hobnob with other HG fans.

P.P.S. Team Gale, all the way!

[Photo Credit: Google Image Search]

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