Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Catching Fire

It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day today, not too hot, not too cold, clearing later in the day. Can you believe the days are shorter already? It was dark at 8 last Wednesday.

The grass (well, the grass-like weeds, anyway) is crispy to the touch, the fallen leaves are puddling in the corners of the porch, the air is hot until the marine breezes come cool, and we are seeing many kids searching for books to complete their summer reading lists before school starts next week. I always feel a little conflicted by the seasons changing. I love fall, and I love twilight, that little extra fillip at the end of the day - the feeling of expectation that comes with the darkening sky - and summer in the northwest is the only time to do that. When it's dark at 4...Not much twilight happening then. It's just dark.

Today is Catching Fire day! The sequel to Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, can be put out on the bookstore floor today.

Hunger Games is this great book about a dystopian society (a far in the future United States) that requires two children from each city-state to fight to the death as a tithe and a way to keep control over the people. Katniss, our hero, has been chosen as one of the warriors.

Part Lord of the Flies and part Theseus and the Minotaur, Hunger Games is filled with action, philosophy, quick thinking and a little romance. Katniss returns in Catching Fire where she finds herself the unwilling center of a rebellion, receiving way too much attention from the government. Oh, it's good! A perfect way to relax before the hectic days of the first weeks of school.
Ages 12 and up. Scholastic. Both books in hardcover for $17.99.

Two of the other sequels to watch for this month are Fire, by Kristin Cashore (sequel to Graceling) and The Missing, Book 2: Sent, by Margaret Peterson Haddix (this is already on the shelf and is flying out of the store).

I am so close to finishing Velva Jean Learns to Drive, by Jennifer Niven, and it is such a great read. It's the story of a young woman living in a holler in Appalachia who wants to go to the Grand Ol' Opry when she grows up, and then life gets in the way. Velva Jean is a good character to expose older teens to. She runs wild after her mother dies, is raised by her sister, gets married, gives things up, gets things back, and becomes true to herself. I am going to go read, now, and see what happens at the end!
Older teens and grown ups. Plume Books. Paperback, $15.00.

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