Catching Fire - Suzanne  Collins
After winning the Hunger Games, all Katniss Everdeen wants is to return to her normal life. However, she finds herself forced into the totalitarian Capitol’s victory tour, where she must prove her love to fellow victor Peeta Mellark, to push the Capitol’s will on the outlying districts. Katniss’ final act in the Hunger Games was viewed by some as an act of defiance, and she may have unintentionally sparked an uprising.

The sequel to The Hunger Games picks up a few months after end of the first book. Katniss again must struggle to retain her own identity as she inadvertently finds herself as the face of a major rebellion, as well as a propaganda tool of the capitol. Conflicting feelings also come to the forefront, with Katniss finding herself forced into a relationship with fellow contestant Peeta, while still having feelings for her best friend Gale. While this “love triangle” of sorts persists throughout the novel, the romance element arises naturally and never really drags down the plot.

Catching Fire moves more slowly than the first book, with much of the initial focus on Katniss’ home in District 12. While the rebellion against the Capitol is a persistent theme, the uprising itself is never actually seen by the reader. The effects are seen in District 12 as the Capitol increases its presence, transforming Katniss’ home into a true police state. Although much of the novel lacks the immediacy and suspense of the The Hunger Games, the story is just as thought provoking and feels almost frighteningly real at times.

The plot quickens in the last third of the novel, as Katniss and Peeta find themselves in the arena once more as participants in a special anniversary hunger games. At first, this appears to be largely a rehash of the first book, but becomes a true page turner once the contestants enter the competition. The ending of the novel is a bit abrupt, but a major cliffhanger will have readers wanting the next book as soon as possible.