Name of Book: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Book Design: Elizabeth Parisi
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Audience: Ages 12 and up
Summary: The third in a trilogy of science fiction stories, Mockingjay is written for adolescent youth and older due to graphic and violent content.
Katniss Everdeen has survived two rounds of competition in the Hunger Games arena and returns to District 12 to see the ruins after it has been bombed and destroyed by the Capitol. Citizen refugees have been relocated to District 13, the first district destroyed by the Capitol which went underground. The residents of District 13 and the refugees have together plotted the details of the revolution and assassination plan for President Snow.
Peeta has been captured and tortured by President Snow and special army team from District 13 is sent to the Capitol to rescue Peeta and other games survivors. The Capitol retaliates with bombing the districts, but 13 is spared. The district president works to create an army capable of leading the other districts in the revolution against the Capitol to gain freedom from oppression. With Katniss in the army group leading the way as the mockingjay, she will again experience and participate in violence and death as they work to rid Panem of the evil in power.
This particular book moves much more quickly through time than the past two in the series. A war rages on and much death and destruction take place, although it is described over weeks and months rather than days.
Note: While the series has no Christian references at all, there are a number of routes one can take in discussing Christian faith with teenage readers. Parents are strongly encouraged to read this book either before their children or alongside their children and engage in regular faith-based discussions.
Literary elements at work in the story: This is a science fiction dystopia of revenge imposed by the country leadership onto the individual districts. It is told from the first person point of view of Katniss, a 16 year old tribute to the Games. It is her story of survival in not just the games, but in everyday life as a citizen of the poorest district in Panem. Katniss is portrayed as a survivor, as is her friend Gale, while many of the other child characters, including her sister (and even her mom) are portrayed as weak and needy. The setting of this book takes place in District 13, as well as in the Capital during war time.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economic/ability make a difference to the story? This book portrays all citizens of Panem, even those of District 13, as under oppressive authority. Many citizens have been tortured either physically or mentally, and even within the safety of the district, there is no freedom for citizens. The culture is that of a benevolent dictatorship, creating citizens who will survive the war and hopefully repopulate the country after it has been recaptured.
Scripture: Isaiah 57:19-21
Theology: As humans we fall short of the glory of God, but we are still loved and desired by God. We have turned away from God, and each other, in search of our own personal and societal gains. As sinners, we have gone against “the way it’s supposed to be.” We are unable to turn ourselves back toward God and unable to make our relationship with God and one another right. We have been sent Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, to lead us back into relationship with God and others.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Have you ever been given a gift by someone that you know you can’t repay?
- How can we trust God when we don’t physically see or feel God?
- Are there any characters in the book that value human life?
- What does God teach us about the value of a human life?
- Katniss struggles with the loss of friends close to her and feels responsible. Have you ever lost someone close to you? Has someone close to you been hurt before? How did you feel?
- How do you think God would react to the Capitol’s treatment of the citizens of Panem?
Review prepared by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Katie Todd
Filed under: Book Reviews, Books written for Grades 9 - 12 (Ages 14-17), Faith Questions For...., Fantasy/Science Fiction, High School Students, Uncategorized, Young Adults | Tagged: authority, death, Freedom, Hope, loss, oppression, power, youth | Leave a Comment »