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Mockingjay: The Hunger Games, Book 3

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Mockingjay: The Hunger Games, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Exciting, dramatic -- and bloody -- sci-fi trilogy finale.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 49 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 228 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

The book's plot could be a jumping-off point to discuss real wartime propaganda and symbols of freedom that people cling to during a war. See our "Families Can Talk About" section for other discussion ideas to sharpen kids' critical thinking skills.

Positive Messages

Lots of food for thought on what it means to become a symbol to oppressed people; how war propaganda can sway people, for better or worse; what people will endure to be free of oppression; whether it's right or not to use the same dirty tactics as the enemy to win a war; and how hope and some peace can still be found after seeing the inhumanity of war.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Katniss takes on her role as the rebellion's symbol, but she's still very conflicted about it. And her desire for revenge clouds her judgment when it comes to the safety of those around her. However, after all of the bloodshed she's seen, she still finds a way out of despair and discovers a healthy way to remember those she's loved and lost.


Torture and deaths of many important supporting characters, with limbs blown off, faces/bodies melting, and necks broken by frightening beasts hunting them in sewers. Lots of weapon use, both in combat and for hunting. Constant sense of danger and peril. Bombings with many casualties -- even hospitals and large groups of children aren't spared.


Some kissing. Mentions of former Hunger Games champions sold as sex slaves.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of a drug called "morphling" -- which has the same effects as morphine -- is given out to sick patients, including main characters; some become addicted to it. Haymitch is a recovering alcoholic at the beginning of the book, but only because alcohol isn't allowed in District 13. He's back to drinking heavily when he leaves.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is the final book in the bestselling Hunger Games trilogy. Like the previous books, there's plenty of bloodshed and psychological warfare in play; many sympathetic characters die, some are tortured to insanity, and, in one nightmare scene, main characters are hunted by giant reptillian creatures in the sewers as they hiss "Katniss, Katniss." But teen readers are sophisticated enough to understand that this is science fiction, not real life. And the book offers lots of food for thought on what it means to become a symbol to oppressed people, how war propaganda can sway people, what people will endure to be free of oppression, whether it's right or not to use the same dirty tactics as the enemy to win a war, and how hope and some peace can still be found after seeing the inhumanity of war.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4, 9, and 10 year old Written bymockingbird72 November 16, 2010

Torture scenes too intense for teens

**SPOILER** If I were to make a movie in which a main character sees a friend's limbs being cut off methodically or another friend being drenched with wate... Continue reading
Adult Written byBookOak October 23, 2011

Not a PG-13 book.

I am appalled by this and the preceding two books in the series. Maybe I got stuck in time somewhere, but this level of violence, even if fake, is simply not ac... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 6, 2011

Definately my Favorite Book.

I had finally finished two of three books in the Hunger Games Trilogy. I strongly believed that they were the most fantastic books I had ever read. However, aft... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byallisonh March 10, 2011

overall satisfying

this was my personal favorite in the hunger games serries. colins exibited a true understanding for the emotions katniss is feeling. at one point she is conside... Continue reading

What's the story?

After Katniss is rescued from the Hunger Games arena at the end of book two, she's safe in District 13 with a group of rebels led by district president Alma Coin. Katniss knows her rescue was orchestrated so that she could become the symbol of the resistance -- the Mockingjay; and, sure enough, she's used to shoot propaganda films that hijack TV sets across the country of Panem as battles rage in the districts and move ever closer to the Capitol. Katniss also knows that her dear friend Peeta is in danger -- tortured, brainwashed, and used by President Snow as leverage against her. Rescuing Peeta from Snow's brutal retribution isn't the only risky plan at play -- Katniss is also determined to assassinate Snow ... whether she has Coin's approval or not.

Is it any good?

Trilogy fans won't return to the Hunger Games arena in this finale, but there's plenty of action to draw readers in and plenty of twists to keep you wondering how it will all end. Plus, Collins continues to add depth to the series, asking readers to consider what's justified in war or to maintain order in societies. She adds so many shades of gray -- how propaganda is used to sway people and what it means to be seen as a symbol more than a person -- that readers will be left with plenty of food for thought.

Katniss is still the tormented, conflicted character who doesn't see herself as a hero figure. This amps up the melodrama at times -- and so does her love triangle. Who will she choose? Team Gale or Team Peeta? And, yes, she does finally decide.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of this trilogy. What do you think has made it so successful? How does it compare to other popular series, like Harry Potter and Twilight?

  • This book provides a frightening look at the future. How does it compare to other future worlds you've seen depicted in movies, books, or video games? What is so appealing about reading books like this? Why is it important to read books set in the future?

  • How does the book portray the media? What role does it play in the war? Can you see any similarities between the way media is used in the book and the role that it plays in our lives today?

Book details

For kids who love fantasy and sci-fi

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