If you follow YA lit news or are a Suzanne Collins fans, you probably know that Mockingjay—the third book in the Hunger Games series—came out yesterday. I was at the bookstore as soon as it opened to get my copy and finished reading the book yesterday evening. Now I've had a day to digest the story.
I was absolutely blown away. No spoilers, so I might be a little vague, but here are my thoughts:
This was a totally intense book. Each book in the series has been more gripping than the last, and this finale was a complete thrill ride. I didn't see any of it coming. Suzanne Collins has a knack for telling precisely the story her readers were never expecting.
And that's even more of an achievement than it may seem at first glance. Collins isn't afraid to take giant risks. She doesn't follow prescribed story patterns; she follows her character's hearts.
That's what I love most about Mockingjay. It's believable. The plot doesn't come together all nice and pat; it's messy like real life is messy, like war is messy, and yet within that chaos is a work of genius. While there were plenty of scenes that left me in anguish, there was never a scene that left me thinking, “no, you should have done that this way,” because the characters acted exactly according to what made sense to them at the time.
Which is not to say that the ending wasn't still excruciating. (No spoilers, as promised.) Yet despite that, the ending was right. So often I will feel an odd emptiness at the end of a book because the final events are marked by mixed emotions—beauty and tragedy both—and yet the conclusion wraps up the story like a pretty pink bow, leaving me feeling strangely disconnected. Mockingjay does come to a conclusion, but it's a multifaceted conclusion that requires the reader to think, even do some soul-searching.
So if there is one young adult series that you read this year, make it the Hunger Games series.
And if you have read it, tell me what you think—“real or not real?"