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Mockingjay - Collins Suzanne
But there are much worse games to play.

5 stars.

Suzanne Collins, you have officially damaged my heart.

Contrary to popular opinion, Mockingjay, for me was a five star.

It used to be three stars.

Except now I understand so many things that I hadn't understood before, which will probably be underneath spoilers, so head with caution.

1) I understand Katniss's distant, remote, and painful attitude. She is completely entitled to her emotional distress and the way her mind keeps wrapping around and around Peeta. I mean, after going the the Games two times, watching people you love die, and then recruited into another "Capitol" form except you're posing as the Mockingjay, and then you continue to watch the ashes of your people and innocent civilians murdered? Yeah. Completely understandable.

2) Finnick's death was way too sad. I'm usually all for death because it's actually pretty symbolic in some instances, and realistic in lots of ways. This is actually how I felt a lot during Mockingjay--the book is sad, the circumstances violent and grieving, and it carries a dark message. In normal YA books, authors don't necessarily kill your characters, at least not typically. But with Mockingjay, everything is so realistic: from Finnick's death to Prim's death to Gale's forevergoneness. It shows that even though Katniss's stories are these character's stories, they're not special in anyway--they're regular humans, and they were either there at the wrong time or they sacrificed themselves for a better world. But still. Finnick dying just ripped my heart out, especially since Annie and him just got married. :(

3) The rebels, the children, the war. It's funny, because this particularly scene touched me so much I nearly started bawling. I really did, and then I did start bawling when Prim died, but that's another bullet, another story. And the fact is--this book was so realistic and so true in so many ways. I've read books with heroines that save the day, so things like bombing children don't ever happen. It's stopped before it comes to that. But for here, Katniss couldn't do anything--there wasn't anything to do before a big hovercraft with the Capitol seal bombed them, and then bombed again, spilling children's parts and legs everywhere. It was gruesome, it was horrible. It symbolized so much: that at the cost of war, at the cost of freedom, children, itty-bitty children, were the ones that were killed and murdered to gain whatever it is people wanted.

4) I think Prim's death was a great twist. For me, I think the revolution started with Prim, not Katniss. Sure, it was the fact that she volunteered and her actions heightened the revolution, but the fact that Prim, who was merely twelve-years-old when recruited on her first try, showed how the Capitol exploited its powers. And the fact that she died was obviously devastating--but I think that was how she would have wanted to die. Tending. Caring. And yet the fact of Prim's death filled Katniss with that kindling fire, didn't it?

5) Gale. It would be denying if I didn't say I'm glad he was gone. I guess I agree--it's true that somehow, the bomb that killed Prim was connected to Gale. It would touch him at some point. And with how much Katniss loved Prim, she can't deny that she'll hate Gale. But I didn't like the part that they're out of each other's lives forever--it's like saying that the Games brought them apart, that they won. Which, in a way, they did. But it's bittersweet to know how close they were, how they relied on each other so much, and everything came apart after the Games.

6) But there are much worse games to play. I swear, in the epilogue, which takes place approx. 20 years after the fall of the Hunger Games, this last line out of the entire series haunts me. I love it, but it feels me with so much shivering and just an empty, echo, haunting feeling it makes me want to hide under the covers. It just shows how much Katniss has grown and matured and how damaged she is (which she is entitled to!)

Basically, throughout the whole book, I had butterflies--not the happy kind, the fluttery-kind, but the ones that are just making you nervous. The ending is not happy. It is bittersweet. It is realistic. It is true. I understand it, but that doesn't mean I want it. I liked it--no, loved it. But if you're asking me who the strongest YA heroine is--it's Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, hands down. Killing, watching your loved ones die, watching children die, watching your sister burn before your eyes, and suffering through so much death and destruction and emotional trauma, which no other YA heroine has achieved, Katniss has come out and become such an image of what a YA heroine should be.

Bravo, Collins.