Catching Fire: The Hunger Games, Book 2

Book review by
Edward T. Sullivan, Common Sense Media
Catching Fire: The Hunger Games, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Sequel just as gripping -- and brutal -- as the first.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 42 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 266 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Teen fans may want to explore the other books in this series. Check out the questions in our "Families Can Talk About" section for ideas to help your teen readers connect with this book's themes.

Positive Messages

The story is equally rich in provocative political and social commentary, and exploring epic themes of morality, obedience, oppression, rebellion, redemption, sacrifice, and, of course, survival.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Katniss, a winner of the Hunger Games and now looked upon as the leader of this uprising, is a strong character whose character is much more developed in this sequel. Through her journey, readers can explore many big ideas.


Violence is plentiful, but not gory or graphic in detail. Cinna, an important secondary character, is beaten and tortured as a suspected rebel. The last third of the novel depicts vivid fight-to-the-death horrors in a truncated Hunger Games re-enactment, including brutal hand-to-hand combat, poisoning, spearing and stabbing.


A few kisses between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

An adult is a described as "drunk as a skunk" in one scene and a teen takes a few gulps from his bottle. A minor character is described as intoxicated.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this follow-up to The Hunger Games concerns a TV tournament in which 20 teens fight a gruesome battle to the death. The violence, while not gory or graphic in detail, is plentiful. Fighting involves primitive weaponry, hand-to-hand combat, poisoning, and spearings and stabbings. The futuristic government that sponsors the event terrorizes and tortures citizens that revolt.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJustin 974 October 29, 2010

Good for teenagers, but no younger than that.

There is a lot of action and stuff, but there's also a decent amount of things that should be noticed when reviewing this for your child. First of all, th... Continue reading
Adult Written byLethargicPanda89 October 4, 2019
Great read, appropriate for all kids above 12. There is a few kisses between peeta, gale, and Katniss, but no overly sexual content. As a Christian mother, I ap... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byShowman movie13 May 4, 2019

Violent as the first but better!

I really loved read this book! There was one sad moment for me:(SPOILER) Cinna dying! This book is as violent as the first one but a bit better. I loved almost... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byhellonwheels March 23, 2020


I thought this book was very well described but a little too well described when people were killed. I fell in love with these characters it took me a day to re... Continue reading

What's the story?

Katniss and Peeta, rich and famous from having won the annual Hunger Games, are reluctanly embarking on a Capitol-sponsored victory tour through the 12 districts of the dystopian world Panem. They are now seen as a threat to oppressive Capitol, having defied the Gamemakers with their subversive victory. This act of rebellion has ignited growing unrest within the districts. To her dismay, Katniss is looked upon as the leader of this uprising. Katniss briefly considers escaping with her family and friends before reluctantly assuming her role as rebel leader. The insidious President Snow is prepared to do whatever is necessary to quash this budding uprising.

Is it any good?

Collins does not disappoint in this enthralling, entirely satisfying sequel. The pace is a little slower and the emphasis more on character than plot -- Katniss grows considerable as a character -- but readers will find CATCHING FIRE as much of a gripping page-turner as The Hunger Games.  More of the story takes place outside the arena than within, but there is plenty of action-packed combat.

Collins offers readers intriguing insights into the nation of Panem: its power structure, rumors of a secret district, and the spreading rebellion. The story is equally rich in provocative political and social commentary, and exploring epic themes of morality, obedience, oppression, rebellion, redemption, sacrifice and, of course, survival. The author also creates a tantalizing and unresolved love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale that will leave questioning readers desperate for the next installment. This novel can stand alone but readers will have a much a richer experience if they begin with The Hunger Games.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about all the rich themes in this book. Considering current reality TV offerings and America's cultural obsession with violence, how hard is it to imagine people killing one another as entertainment? What are some examples from the past in which such "entertainment" did exist?

  • Are there any TV programs or video games that remind remind you of the Hunger Games tournament? How are they similar?

  • What does the Capitol do to people in the distrcits that can be called oppressive? Are there governments in the world today that could be considered as oppressive? 

  • What lengths would you go to in order to survive?

  • Why is Katniss the best person to be the symbolic leader of the uprising? What are Katniss' true feelings towards Gale and Peeta?

Book details

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