The Gist: The dramatic conclusion to the dystopian young adult epic set in what used to be the United States where the Districts are waging war against the Capitol.
Story Summary: After the attack on District 12, all the survivors are taken in by District 13. President of District 13, Alma Coin, along with the other revloution leaders want Katniss to take on the role of Mockingjay–but they sound exactly like the Capitol. In the planned escape from the Arena, Peeta and Johanna were left behind and subsequently captured by the Capitol. Peeta is tortured, although Katniss doesn’t discover why until about halfway through the book.
Katniss experiences a completely different daily life where everything is uniform and strictly controlled, but where everyone is well fed and they have more opportunities in general.
Story Review: I love how no one is completely odious (even President Snow has a relatable moment) or a saint (although Peeta’s more egregious qualities aren’t his fault, some of his lesser unwanted qualities, blind devotion, are all his). Although lots of threads were left untied, the story isn’t going to unravel. The story ends true to its depiction of life–it’s messy and unfinished, nothing completely solved but hey, at least it keeps moving forward.
The way Katniss deals with conflicting ideas on so many levels is great. It’s small stuff like her relationship to Haymitch (when she catches herself caring about Haymitch she has to remind herself she doesn’t care anymore) to larger stuff like how the leaders of the Capitol and the leaders of District 13 both play out of the same handbook (why is Katniss advocating revolution when the person who takes over who is going to be like the last person who was in charge?).
I love the end where Katniss says there are worst games to play than a very repetitious game that reminds her of all the good in the world, where you can see Katniss has learned to accept both hope and base instinct to survive as needed in life. Katniss now values the good, which is much different than the girl who continually owed everyone for their kindness.
Immersion Activity Ideas:
Cook GOOD food
Learn to hunt
Marvel at the things we take for granted (running hot and cold water for example)
Play the repetitious game Katniss introduces in the epilogue