Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 22

In the twenty-second chapter of The Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta hang out in a cave while it rains and occasionally make out. Yeah. If you’re still intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to read The Hunger Games.


There is indeed some good writing and character development in this chapter, but after the shocking events of the last chapter, I’m left feeling a bit let down by the stunted pace. I don’t think that having this sort of contrast is at all a bad thing in and of itself, but I just don’t like how it’s executed here, especially so close to the end of the book.

I do like this moment in the dream that Katniss has at the beginning:

My mother’s hand strokes my cheek and I don’t push it away as I would in wakefulness, never wanting her to know how much I crave that gentle touch. How much I miss her even though I still don’t trust her.

Blunt as a rock to a tribute’s skull. But I liked it quite a bit and now I’m interested to see how this plays out. What’s going to happen when she returns home? Will her mother have changed without her? Will they have a better relationship?

Much like the camping scenes in Harry Potter (but without any of the plotting and introspection Rowling brought to those parts of Deathly Hallows), Katniss and Peeta’s waiting seems to stretch on for pages. In fact, I believe an entire day goes by without anything happening but them resting and waiting for the rain to stop.

It’s very convenient that Peeta’s infection got better in a quick enough time that he was able to bandage Katniss’s head, but it’s not-so-convenient that she’s still dizzy and weak from the encounter, unable to hunt for the two of them. So they simply don’t eat.

I don’t mean to criticize their actions, though. I mean, Peeta’s leg is a mess and Katniss suffered a gash to the forehead. I THINK IT’S OK IF THEY GET SOME REST. That’s not what I’m bored with. Until Katniss asks Peeta about his crush on her, they sort of just sit around and talk. And Katniss pretends to act romantic while Peeta is clearly not acting and I am really getting tired of this charade. Is Collins trying to lead us to this big revelation of Katniss’s when she has an epiphany about Peeta actually liking her? I hope not, because her own writing will have deflated that by then.

Let’s talk about quicksand instead, ok?

“Nobody really wanted to track Thresh down in that grass. It has a sinister feeling to it. Every time I look at that field, all I can think of are hidden things. Snakes, and rabid animals, and quicksand,” Peeta says.

Completely unrelated to this book except for that one word: I was obsessed an incredibly unhealthy amount with quicksand as I child. It’s funny that the moment I began to fear quicksand was when I first saw The Neverending Story. The part where Atreyu begins to drown in the swamp is awful AND IT ISN’T REALLY EVEN QUICKSAND but I thought it was and I began to believe that you could seriously fall into quicksand every place there is sand. Including sandboxes.

I don’t think you understand how much thought I gave to the very real threat of quicksand until I was in junior high and someone pointed out to me how rare quicksand actually is and how it’s even rarer to actually die from sinking into quicksand and how many times can I use the word quicksand in one sentence.

Ok, that’s my aside.

“I wonder what we’d have to do to get Haymitch to send us some bread.”

Oh, Peeta, you have no idea how strange this is going to be.

I raise my eyebrows before I remember he doesn’t know about the message Haymitch sent us a couple of nights ago. One kiss equals one pot of broth. It’s not the sort of thing I can blurt out, either. To say my thoughts aloud would be tipping off the audience that the romance has been fabricated to play on their sympathies and that would result in no food at all.

THAT WOULD BE A TRAGEDY, RIGHT? Also, I cannot believe this anymore. I know that Katniss has no experience with romance. I didn’t at the age of 16 either. But DOES SHE HONESTLY BELIEVE PEETA IS FAKING IT AT THIS POINT? Again, emotional depth of a teaspoon. This is not something I can seriously accept at this point.

I can accept Peeta’s anger at Katniss drugging him to get…more drugs.

“The problem is we’re both still alive. Which only reinforces the idea in your mind that you did the right thing,” says Peeta.

“I did do the right thing,” I say.

“No! Just don’t, Katniss!” His grip tightens, hurting my hand, and there’s real anger in his voice. “Don’t die for me. You won’t be doing me any favors. All right?”

Well…what if she does do you a favor? Ok, that’s not the point. The point is that this moral gray area isn’t so gray for Peeta, especially since he was the one that was drugged. For Katniss, the ends justify the means.

Where do I stand on this? I think Katniss had another option besides putting Peeta to sleep and wish she hadn’t done it. I mean, she could have died if he didn’t wake up in time; it just wasn’t a practical idea, let alone a moral one.

That being said…clearly I am not in the Games and having to make difficult decisions to stay alive. I recognize that.

“Then I’ll just have to fill in the blanks myself,” he says, and moves in to me.

This is the first kiss that we’re both fully aware of. Neither of us hobbled by sickness or pain or simply unconscious. Our lips neither burning with fever or icy cold. This is the first kiss where I actually feel stirring inside my chest. Warm and curious. This is the first kiss that makes me want another.

Oh. Oh, ok. Yeah, Peeta has definitely been faking this whole time, right? This is so frustrating my head actually hurts. Katniss, how can you not see this? Is this leading up to some twist at the end that I can’t see? DON’T ANSWER THAT.

I’m not given much to go off of as we return to more waiting. The rain continues to fall. They continue to starve. They are getting rest, which is good. Part of me wants to say that it’s realistic that there would be boring moments during the Games. It’s going to happen. But I get the feeling reading this that this is just one thing connecting to another thing. This boring moment is just a bridge to the more exciting stuff that comes later.

Basically, it feels plotted.

Katniss decides that she needs to finally attempt to create some drama for the watching audience so that Haymitch will send them something from the sponsors. She initiates the conversation by asking Peeta how long he’s had a crush on her.

I think most of us who have had unrequited crushes on people can appreciate the detail that Peeta can still recall about the first moment he saw Katniss. Can I remember some of my early crushes? Absolutely. When you first are stunned into silence by a person, it’s kind of hard to forget.

The entire section where Peeta tells his story is wonderfully written by Collins and almost makes up for everything else in this chapter. I think that I’m starting to care for Peeta more than Katniss. It’s obvious he wasn’t lying when he said he had a crush on Katniss and his genuine level of respect and care for her is pretty endearing.

Katniss isn’t so endearing herself, though.

“Well, I don’t have much competition here,” he says.

I want to draw away, to close those shutters again, but I know I can’t. It’s as if I can hear Haymitch whispering in my hear, “Say it! Say it!”

I swallow hard and get the words out. “You don’t have much competition anywhere.” And this time, it’s me who leans in.

Oh. Oh ok.

Our lips have just barely touched when the clunk outside makes us jump. My bow comes up, the arrow ready to fly, but there’s no other sound. Peeta peers through the rocks and then gives a whoop. Before I can stop him, he’s out in the rain, then handing something in to me. A silver parachute attached to a basket. I rip it open at once and inside there’s a feast—fresh rolls, goat cheese, apples, and best of all, a tureen of that incredible lamb stew on wild rice. The very dish I told Caesar Flickerman was the most impressive thing the Capitol had to offer.

Bravo, Katniss. Your lack of emotional depth has fed you two. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games (novel) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

240 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 22

  1. Andrew says:

    Most mundane chapter ever? Yes.
    "Blunt as a rock to a tribute’s skull." Best simile ever? Yes.

  2. herpestidae says:

    Ah, yes. A Filler chapter. At least Collins was courteous enough to add some character development in there. I'm pretty inured to filler on the whole, though, what with me being an otaku of sorts. I mean, after being a fan of DragonBall Z, filler just doesn't bug a person.

    • BradSmith5 says:

      HA,ha,ha. I love Dragon Ball, but I'm SO glad they made that new version with all the filler cut out.

      "Goku, it seems killer androids are about to arrive and wipe out all life on earth! Quick––let's go to the DMV and get your car's license renewed!"

      • herpestidae says:

        You're forgetting the important part: half of all dialogue and animation was spent on someone groaning.

        • BradSmith5 says:

          Yes. It was all very important to build suspense and to reflect the emotions characters were feeling. If anyone were to say otherwise I would cry for real. :'(

  3. Esther says:

    Boring chapter is boring. Reading your reviews for this chapter and the last one is killing me. Reading the book all at once makes it less agonizing.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I am actually aware of this. I know this wouldn't be the same if I read it in one sitting.

      • Mori-tora says:

        Really? I kinda like this style of reading. While it is hard to hold off on continuing it gives me time to think and reflect on what happens. (Even though I can't say much now because I finished the book last week due to boredom. I am waiting so I can start on the second one when you finish =D)

        • cait0716 says:

          It's funny. I actually got in trouble in high school because I couldn't do this. We were supposed to be reading a book (either The Great Gatsby or Catcher in the Rye) a chapter at a time and having group/class discussions after each chapter. I read the entire book in one weekend and then couldn't remember a lot of earlier details. The ones I did remember were colored by what happened later. One of the discussions was about foreshadowing and I couldn't contribute because I already know what happened.

          I still think books are generally better enjoyed as a whole, but that may be because I simply can't slow down and enjoy them any slower. Of course, you'd never watch a movie in fifteen minute intervals. Then again TV shows are episodic.

          Basically, I agree whole-heartedly with Terry Pratchett's assessment: "I can see what their purpose is in children's books ("I'll read to the end of the chapter, and then you must go to sleep") but I'm blessed if I know what function they serve in books for adults"

          Anyway, I applaud anyone with the patience to actually read any book a chapter at a time. I'm sure it's a very different experience – one I'll probably never have

          Sorry for the ridiculously long comment

          • xpanasonicyouthx says:

            OH MY GOD. I did the same thing with The Great Gatsby, which, to this day, is still one of my favorite books of all time.

            • cait0716 says:

              I need to re-read it. I barely remember what happened. But ever since I found out that Baz Luhrman is re-making the movie, I've been itching to read it again.

          • spectralbovine says:

            Ha, yeah, I did the same thing with Watership Down. I was reading soooo many chapters ahead.

          • exbestfriend says:

            My biggest problem was that I switched school districts a number of times so I kept having to read the same books over and over. I'm not kidding when I say that my 7th grade reading list and my 10th grade reading list was practically identical. Of course, I was also that nerd who got dropped off at the library for hours at a time in the summer and read other schools/classes required reading in my spare time. So by the time I got to a book in school, I had already read it and it was just a matter of skimming the parts that I knew they would test.

          • bell_erin_a says:

            Siriusly, I have no self-control. Whatsoever. Doesn't matter what book it is (okay, unless it's HP and Sorcerer's Stone in Spanish, since I seem to be able to put that one down easily enough. Although I've read HP enough so that I've memorized parts of it, so that may have more to do with that), I read it in just a few sittings. If it's something I like, then I have to read it TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT OMGOMG. If it's for school, then I read it as fast as possible so I can get back to reading GOOD BOOKS duh.

            So yeah, my participation in book discussions was usually pretty sparse. Who the hell wants to stop after just a few chapters and drag out the whole thing? Jeez, teachers.

            • cait0716 says:

              I picked all my electives in college based on the reading list so school books and good books ended up being the same thing for me. It was a pretty good system

          • lossthief says:

            We were supposed to be reading a book (either The Great Gatsby or Catcher in the Rye) a chapter at a time and having group/class discussions after each chapter.
            We've been doing this the whole school year in my AP English 12 class! So far we've gone through a dozen short stories, as well as "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien and "Anil's Ghost" by Michael Ondaatje.

            I actually have to thank Mark for his blog, because it really got me in the mind set of dissecting a book section by section like this. Which is why I'm trying to find a quote from mark to use as my senior quote.

          • BradSmith5 says:

            I don't think it's always about patience, but time. I chose to read these small chapters over the hour-long 'Firefly' episodes for that very reason. What, does that Terry dude not have a job? Other people might have kids––a family to take care of! When my boss yells at me for reading all day should I just tell him that books need to be experienced without breaks? "Oh, Brad, your logic astounds me once again! That foot of snow that needs to be shoveled out front can wait, carry on!"

            Hmm…that doesn't sound like a bad plan now that I think of it. Couldn't hurt to try it. Thank you for the idea, Cait! 😀

            • cait0716 says:

              Yay procrastination!

              Also, watch Firefly. You can do it all in one day, just call in sick! Or blame the snow that didn't get shoveled because you were reading.

            • lossthief says:

              Pratchett does have a job…he writes books! I've heard good things about them too.

              • cait0716 says:

                Seriously. 40 best sellers in 25 years. They are so good. Definitely read them

              • BradSmith5 says:

                If Mark decides to read one of his, I'll follow along then. How in the world would he split up a book with no chapters, though!? Just give us page numbers, like homework? Mark sounds like the type of guy to assign hundreds! :'(

                • flootzavut says:

                  They tend to be divided up into scenes, but no chapter breaks. His younger readers books have chapters and he's tended towards chapters for his later books.

                  Mark should read Nation. That would be awesome 😀 Mark, are you listening? Read Nation!! (When you're done with THG obviously…. :))

            • hassibah says:

              Do yourself a favour and watch the Firefly trailer sometime-it's basically an hour and a half long movie-and it's blessed with not waiting till halfway through for shit to get real unlike books, so there's that. You'll either like it or you won't.

              I never really got that chapters meant you only can read read one chapter at a time. They work in certain kinds of books and not in others, I just thought that that meant that you're writing about different ideas that are best organized into shorter parts, not that it means that you're writing for an audience with elementary school skills.
              What am I doing here, I've been reading comics for months.

          • simply_shipping says:

            I totally failed fourth grade reading because of this. Yes, fourth grade. We were supposed to be taking it in turns to read aloud and it would be my turn and I'd be thirty pages ahead of the class. I never actually stopped doing it, I just got more understanding teachers. And one teacher who gave me extra credit for finishing the book early, THANK YOU AP ENGLISH.

            • LH52184 says:

              I did the same thing in fourth grade. And also got in trouble for it. Maybe reading aloud by chapter is (was?) a 4th grade thing?? I simply couldn't do it. It sounds terrible to say now, but there was nothing as *head!desk* torturous as listening to a fourth grader who didn't *really* read all that well read aloud from a book and stutter and get all the words wrong when all you really wanted to do was read ahead and see what happens. Which, in turn, got me lectured. Way to promote academic curiosity!!

              • Grace says:

                Me too My teacher got so pissed at me, and kids tattled on me. We had reading groups, and had to read outloud, which I hated, so read ahead during, cause I can’t stand listening to other people read (mispronouncing words, no inflection, etc)

                • Book_worm14 says:

                  Yay!! I'm not alone! I mean, I love all of my friends, but it is so irritating to listen to people (in 8th grade!) mispronounce words like naive. I mean…. I am always like…. um…. do you read outside of school?

      • corporatecake says:

        The problem, imho, is that books are meant to be considered as a whole. You can't talk about themes and character development and whether or not certain plot developments are successful without knowing the whole book. It's like asking someone who's never seen the Mona Lisa if it's a good painting by just showing the bottom half.

        Not to get too much into literary theory and whatnot here, but if we take Edgar Allen Poe at his word, you should be able to (and should) read all works of fiction in one sitting, because that's part of what makes the experience. He also talked about the unity of effect, that the important part of a work of fiction was, basically, how all the pieces came together at the end in order to create a certain emotional response.

        (Not to say that Mark doesn't have awesome and insightful posts — and part of the fun is saying 'screw that rubbish, I want to watch him try and predict what will happen!')

    • Pan says:

      Sure, but it is less agonizing, because you are less likely to realize that this is an entire chapter of boredom. Katniss and Peeta have every right to rest for a while, but … while they are starving? Shouldn't they try to find at least some food? It doesn't really add anything to your strength if you're suffering from hunger while resting. And why are they so sure, that the gamemakers don't do anything while they are sitting there being boring? Then, there are two contestants left, who might find and kill them.*
      This chapter was ok while I read it – because I expected a sudden change of the events. But nothing happened. So, in retrospection: Boring chapter is boring.

      *I don't count Foxface. Her strategy is entirely defensive, even at this late stage of the games. She won't attack anyone and will finally be *~totally accurate prediction~* an easy kill for Cato.

  4. Anon says:

    I like the mood conveyed in this chapter. Like, how Katniss deals with the whole romance thing. Basically because it's pretty much exactly how my first kiss felt.
    Great, I have the emotional depth of a teaspoon.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Hahaha, no, I don't think you do. My first kiss was also confusing and weird and strange. I'm referring to this strange thing where Katniss is unsure of her feelings (which is perfectly fine and normal), but is 100% oblivious to the idea that Peeta might actually like her. It's strange because it's spelled out so much in her point of view that it's bordering on the absurd.

  5. mandii says:

    I know how you feel about Katniss being blind to the whole Peeta thing, but really there are some girls out there that are completely clueless! My best friend for example is one, she’s absolutely beautiful, super sweet, funny, and tons of guys pretty much throw themselves at her, but she’s like “none of those guys like me, their just my friends” ahh what an idiot she is, like Katniss.

    • Jamie S says:

      It feels like guys are always the clueless ones. I wonder how people would treat Katniss's end of the relationship if the genders were reversed.

      • Cally_Black says:'re right. It would be so different if the roles were reversed.

        When boys are the clueless ones it's: 'Aww! He doesn't realize that she really likes him! How adorable!'

        But when it's the girls, like Katniss: 'Why can't she realize that he's freaking in love with you?'

        • lossthief says:

          Not always, just look at Ron. By HBP everyone and their grandmother was yelling at him to GET ON WITH IT!

          • hpfish13 says:

            Somehow this is particularly amusing to me because my grandmother is the one who introduced me to HP and I read the last 400 pages of HBP to her.

  6. Kripa says:

    MOAR HP PARALLELS: Katniss' "stirring" in her chest is just like Harry's chest monster. KATNISS EVERDEEN IS HARRY POTTER. And Peeta is Ginny Weasley.

    • simply_shipping says:

      Well, that would certainly explain why Peeta is playing the role of The Chick while Katniss is The Hero…

    • theanagrace says:

      "Again, emotional depth of a teaspoon."
      I imagined Katniss as Ron just now 😛

    • blessthechildren says:

      A little – but Ginny didn't exactly go as hardcore as Peeta. He has been hovering around protecting her for years, and would rather die than lose her. Ginny got over her crush in way by dating other guys and waiting for Harry to come around.

  7. theupsides says:

    The Neverending Story has given me a lifelong fear of quicksand as well.

    About Peeta and Katniss: I actually love this chapter. I know you view it as lacking emotional depth, but I think it's the first time we see Katniss actually showing some depth where Peeta is concerned. She finally realizes that Peeta might not be faking, given all the stuff he remembers from their childhood. Also, you finally get the sense that she's developing real feelings for him. When they kiss, when she says she "wants to pull the shutters closed" TWO TIMES, that's her saying she's feeling things for real, and not for show. She even says she'd give up getting food, just to have the moment stay private with Peeta. She's terrified of him dying! This is a big moment for her, and for the two of them, because you finally see that as much as she's playing it up for the audience, she genuinely cares for him, more than she ever expected to.

  8. kohlrabi says:

    Ugh this chapter. I ended up wanting to beat my head against a hard surface reading about Katniss thinking it's still all an act. Fine, be dense for a while but this is just ridiculous. Does she have some sort of mental illness that prevents her from properly reading people? Because seriously.

    I think the only helpful bit these 'romantic' scenes provide besides character development is to remind the reader that there are people watching them for entertainment. It's easy to forget it's all a big show during the intense action scenes.

    • Ken says:

      "Fine, be dense for a while but this is just ridiculous. Does she have some sort of mental illness that prevents her from properly reading people? Because seriously."

      Why couldn't she? District 12 isn't exactly crawling with head doctors. As long as it doesn't interfere with survival, it's perfectly reasonable for lots of people to be running around with all sorts of undiagnosed brain glitches that would show up in our DSMV.

      If it's meant to be that way, then well done Suzanne. Show, don't tell.

    • Ken says:

      “Fine, be dense for a while but this is just ridiculous. Does she have some sort of mental illness that prevents her from properly reading people? Because seriously.”

      Why couldn’t she? District 12 isn’t exactly crawling with head doctors. It’s perfectly reasonable for lots of people to be running around with undiagnosed brain glitches that don’t interfere with survival.

      If it was intended, then well done Suzanne. Show, don’t tell.

  9. pooslie says:

    Peeta's description of the first time he saw her reminds me f the first time i saw my 1st (and practically lifelong) crush, Pat. it was the first day of first grade and he had actually been left back but he was so beautiful and full of life and he was skipping around the desks before school started.

  10. Karen says:

    My irrational fear of quicksand came from watching The Princess Bride too much when I was a kid. LIGHTNING SAND IS TERRIFYING, Y'ALL.

    haha. But yeah. Not much happens in this chapter other than me loving Peeta more and more.

    Although, I can somewhat understand why Katniss is the way she is. She's naturally stoic to begin with, and then I think she's the kind of person who suppresses emotions that might be difficult. I think it's pretty clear that she's starting to feel something for Peeta (even if it's just platonic affection), but she's not letting herself process that. It's just easier to pretend that everything is an act for both of them and they're just doing this to survive. Survival is something that Katniss can understand and focus on. (Also… I kind of like that there's a female protagonist who is like this. lol. A lot female characters are all ~feeling~ and in tune with their emotions. It's a bit comforting to me to see a female protagonist who is terrible at reading people because sometimes I feel like I'm that way too.)

  11. lossthief says:

    p.285: Oh, it's one of those "Don't remember I'm in the middle of the plot" dream things that is in EVERY SINGLE YA BOOK EVER WRITTEN EVER.
    p.285: "…unmistakable scent of blood…" What? I've bled plenty of times before, but I do not remember a single time ever having a specific "scent" to define it.
    p.285: "Good to see your eyes again." Peeta, stop sounding creepy.
    p.286: "Maybe…I'll hear about it later…" Damn well better.
    p.287: Confirmation that the Capitol are wizards. They can conjure up storms. *GASP* Trisana Chandler, when did you start working with dictators?
    p.287: "Thresh broke her skull with a rock." Because he is a certified BAMF
    p.288: "Why did you, anyway?" *Facepalm* RON WEASLEY HAS MORE TACT WITH EMOTIONS THAN YOU!
    p.288: "I don't want anyone else to die." Ugh.
    p.289: "…good and rested thanks to you and Haymitch." That best be be sardonic.
    p.290: "I'll kill and you cook" Take that gender roles.
    p.290: "Nobody really wanted to track Thresh down…" Translation: "He scared the ever-living shit out of us.
    p.291: Back to the love triangle nonsense. Bleh. :p
    p.291: Did Kat just make light of drugging Peeta against his will? Ah hell no.
    p.292: "Don't die for me." Really? This isn't about her slipping drugs into your food and forcing you to swallow when you protested? To hell with it. FOXFACE (LYRA) FOR MURDER QUEEN.
    p.293: Could not care less about the romance.
    p.294: bored. bored. bored. BORED. bored.
    p.295: Still bored.
    p.295: "When he sings…even the birds stop to listen." I'd forgotten about Kat's dad being Snow White.
    p.296: Gods this is sappy. When did this turn from THUNDERDOME to a RomCom?
    p.296: "…could it all be true?" FINALLY SHE GETS IT.
    p.297: "I remember everything about you." That banging sound you hear? That's y head slamming into my computer desk in a desperate attempt to escape this melodrama.
    p.297: Oh hey, chapter's over. Thank you merciful Athena.
    Overall, this entire chapter just bored me. There was no real advance in the plot, any character development that happened was something I'd been expecting for over a hundred pages, and the way they both brush off the drugging just left a sour taste in my mouth.
    Grade: "D"

    • pooslie says:

      blood does have a very specific smell. coppery and…well it smells like blood

    • Elise says:

      The Tris comment made my day 😀

    • bell_erin_a says:

      OMG you just made a reference to Circle of Magic. I love it when people validate my childhood! 😀

    • BradSmith5 says:

      AH! You beat me to the banging joke! I was going to shoot the book out of a cannon and into the moon, but still––! You win this time, Lossthief! THIS TIME! ::swivels around in his chair and strokes his pet kitten.::

    • Kit says:

      TAMORA PIERCE REFERENCE! My childhood is validated!

      • lossthief says:

        I love Tamora Pierce's books, though for some reason I have a bad habit of finding the second series in each universe first. I read "Wild Magic" before I found "The Song of the Lioness" Quartet, and I read "Magic Steps" before discovering the "Circle of Magic" series. Meaning I had sort of a strange introduction to both Tortall and the CoM universes.

        Still, I love both of them, and I've read ever single CoM book, including "Melting Stones"

        • bell_erin_a says:

          Heh, I believe that was my experience with the Tortall books. I definitely started reading "Wild Magic" (oh, who is this knight with the violet eyes what?) before my mother told me there was an entire series before it, oops. I feel like I might have found CoM first, but started reading Tris' book before I read Sandry's.

          I assume my mother is rereading all of the Tortall books since she has finished "The Realms of the Gods" and started the first Protector of the Small books since I've been back. Wonderful YA books that even my mother rereads fairly often for the win!

          • Anjemon says:

            Protector of the Small is still one of my favorite book series, hands down. I even gave them to my 8th grade cousin recently so she could get sucked into the magic.

    • kytten says:

      Blood totally has a smell, sort of fleshy and metallic. It's stronger when there's lots of it.

      Mind you, I have an abnormally good sense of smell and taste.

    • Hotaru-hime says:

      Trisana Chandler would never work with dictators- she turned down Empress Berenene!

    • blessthechildren says:

      Some people have a really sensitive ability to smell blood, others don't. Fresh blood smells a bit like warm copper and salt to me. It is very gross. and if there is enough there for you to smell it usually you SHOULD BE SCARED. :p

      I like this cahpter on the simple note that we get to here Peeta's version of why he is so crazy in love with Katniss. It's sweet <3

  12. Ida says:

    I agree that this part of the book is a bit slow. So far the first days of the Hunger Games where the most exiting to me. Paranoia all around!

    Although it is obvious to us as readers that Peeta is not faking his crush I don’t really find it so difficult to believe that Katniss might not believe it. Like mandii I too have a friend who just doesn’t see it when her guy friends are into her and when I try to point it out to her she says they’re just good friends.

    • Lynn says:

      Yeah, I agree that it is believable that Katniss does not get Peeta's crush being real until now.

      It is time for me to come out of the closet…I was one of those annoying girls when I was that age who was ridiculously clueless about such things. I had one friend who used to get about as annoyed at me as you guys are doing with Katniss. Now I get why it annoyed her but I didn't then. So I cut Katniss some slack because at least she has a better reason for being oblivious (life and death situations distracting her for virtually her entire life) than I did (being a silly teenage girl with transient self esteem issues).

      Whew! I am so glad that no one was in my head during that time reading along with my thoughts!!! At least we girls that are like this grow out of it (mostly).

  13. mugglemomof2 says:

    "Bravo, Katniss. Your lack of emotional depth has fed you two. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY."

    HA HA HA- you crack meup

    Maybe it is because I do enjoy a paranormal romance novel here and there, that I enjoyed this chapter. I welcomed the slow down in action (my heart needed a break) and I liked how it showed the development of the characters.
    Is Katniss as thick as a concrete wall in not seeing the Peeta isn't faking? yes- but I think her obliviousness works.

  14. Is boring camping a trope in YA novels now? I feel like it is after this chapter and the major portion of Deathly Hallows.

  15. Jamie S says:

    You say it feels plotted, but it is plotted – by the game makers. I feel like that's driving the scene too, the fear that if enough interesting things don't happen, the game makers might send another wall of fire or something. It's a convenient story device, but I kind of admire Collins for coming up with it. It almost makes us part of the easily bored Panem audience.

  16. jsh357 says:

    Yeah, Peeta's dialogue in this one kind of redeemed the lack of anything else going on here. It does feel a bit late, like this could have happened before the banquet scene with no real penalty to the plot. I find it very strange that Collins is putting all this basic character development so late in the novel. It is the first of three, of course. I suppose they're meant to be read together.

    • Lynn says:

      Plus, Katniss can open herself up to Peeta now since she doesn't have to keep herself detached in the same way as pregames for survival purposes. Actually, her survival is potentially increased if she opens herself to him now thanks to the evil game makers and capitol wishes.

      Would she have really wanted to get to know someone she thought needed to die for her to win (as was the case before now)? It is b/c of the narrator that we are getting this development late. I think it would have felt less true for Katniss' character if she had been trying to get to know people pregames.

  17. potlid007 says:

    KATNISS EVERDEENNNNN: <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    But Peeta, youzah gem.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    Many Christoph kisses for you, Peeta. FOUR FOR YOU!

  18. Karen says:

    haha. I just commented about The Princess Bride too. I used to think of scenarios in which I might get trapped in quicksand and how I could get out. LOL.

  19. EasyE says:

    I think that Katniss knows exactly how Peeta feels but just doesn't want to admit it to herself, because of what that would do to her. I also think she's forced her own emotional shallowness upon herself by never letting herself really feel what she's feeling. Everytime she starts to feel some real emotion such as fear or sadness even love, she shuts it down.

  20. SarBear says:

    lol kissing
    why yes I have still never been kissed at eighteen years old except for the time this drunk guy tried to shove his tounge down my throat, which I don’t count
    Anyway romance is still boring
    Peeta is super sweet though. But like, is he too sweet? I dunno, maybe I am just paranoid. D:

    I love that you brought up the HP campin scenes because I kept thinking about it too! Like, “oh wow, everyone says that was boring, here we have this!”
    BUUUUT I get the feeling if I reread this after everything I might be able to ~~enjoy it more
    One chapter at a time is straaaange

    Katniss will win and meet Ronald Weasley, who will then inform her that Peeta actually likes her, because even he gets it
    Katniss will describe the stew very in-depth
    idk man

  21. Beatrice says:

    "…and I began to believe that you could seriously fall into quicksand every place there is sand. Including sandboxes."
    DUDE. I felt the same way even when I learned that there had to be water for quicksand. So when it rained, I avoided sandy areas like nothing else.
    It's not even one of those things that people talk about a lot like dogs with rabies or snakes or something. I guess it's mysterious quality makes it so interesting and frightening.

  22. monkeybutter says:

    I swear I didn't hate this chapter the first time I read it because it's just a brief pause in the action, but at a chapter a day? Ugh.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Oh, and I was both terrified of quicksand and actively sought it out whenever we were at the beach because, yeah, obviously quicksand is in all sandy places. You are not alone!

  23. stellaaaaakris says:

    Mark, after finishing this book/series, please, please reread this book without stopping every chapter. I swear, it's a completely different experience. Things flow so much more, the style isn't as grating in the beginning, the romance isn't as forced, the cliffhangers aren't as noticeable. THG isn't meant to be read a chapter at a time and I'm worried that by doing so, the flaws will bother you to the point that your enjoyment of the story will suffer.

    The thing about this chapter is that the fangirl in me wants to squeal with the declaration of Katniss. Once again, it's dangerously close to the "gag me" cheese level (actually, in just about anything other than a story about teenagers fighting to the death, it would be mayor of this level).I don't know why but I think it's adorable. However, I know that Peeta thinks what she's saying are her real feelings. But I know she's just trying to keep them both alive, and I can't blame her for that, but poor Peeta. He doesn't know and it's not his fault he can't speak telepathically with Haymitch. Don't worry, Peeta, I truly love you.

    And I completely agree with the emotional teaspoon bit. Come on, Katniss, this guy took a sword in the leg for you when he still thought only one person could win. You should not still be this oblivious. But doesn't she begin to recognize in this chapter Peeta's true feelings? She says something along the lines of, "Could they [Peeta's mushy feelings of love] have been real this whole time?"

    I also loved the story of how Peeta became so smitten with Katniss. She sounded like an entirely different girl back then when her father was alive. It makes me sad that her life has made her so much harder, as realistic as I find it.

    • Ken says:

      Hold on…. why is she supposed to be able to see that Peeta's feelings are real, but it's reasonable for Peeta to not be able to tell that hers aren't?

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      I did read each book with few pauses (the first two in two days each, Mockingjay last night in four hours and dear God did I ever have a crick in my neck!), but I still found the style grating and the romance forced.

  24. thefbm says:

    This is the reason why these books cannot be read one chapter at a time. One sitting, really, to read these and this chapter is quite nice after the bloodshead and skulls crushed. Plus I'm a sucker for character development and this chapter still makes me cringe at the romance….oh Katniss get a clue, even I wasn't that oblivious at your age. Then again, I didn't grow up in district 12 where the only things on my mind were hunting and survival. It doesn't help that her mother doesn't provide a loving relationship with her and only Prim does. Thank goodness or Katniss probably would be long gone.

  25. Cally_Black says:

    I understand where you're coming from with being annoyed at Katniss and being like, "WHY CAN'T YOU SEE THAT HE'S NOT FAKING?!" But…I can also see Katniss's side.

    First she never was a trusting person, even before she came into the games. Second, she's never really had to deal with someone liking her, so it's not something she's just going to accept immediately. Third, it started off as an act, at least to her. Peeta's SUPPOSED to be acting this way. She's acting the same way in return, but is faking. I don't think I explained this in the best way possible, but I can just see this from Katniss's point of view and relate to her denying that a boy might actually, truly like her.

    Now that I'm done with my rant….fanart?

    Waiting Out the Rain by RohanElf
    <img src=>

    Looking for a flaw by burdge-bug
    <img src=>

    • Me! says:

      i see your point as well as others but if you look in the picture you can totally see that katniss has her eyes open a little and peetas and closed shut… this shows how katniss is unaware of how she feels since she's never kissed anyone and she still has Gale to worry about… he can handle it but all in all Katniss has all these emotions going through her all at once and we all know how that feels

  26. bendemolena says:

    Sooo glad I'm not the only one who really isn't interested in the romance aspect (unless these books were about Cinna or like if Gale and Peeta were crushing on each other instead– are there any books like this?) of these books. Honestly I'm guilty of kind of skimming this chapter. And rolling my eyes a lot. I just wanted to get back to the skull-crushing and general badassery.

    dnw ya romance~

    • Sizzlelucid says:

      It's funny that you mention this because Katniss dies at the end of the book and Catching Fire is all about Peeta and Gale's growing love and intense passion for each other.

      • MadarFoxfire says:

        That's not entirely true – it's at least thirty percent baking.

        Especially in the middle when Gale's getting the silent treatment after the souffle incident.

  27. pdizzlefizzle says:

    Katniss is as blind as lois lane with the emotional range of ronald weasley.

  28. kreeping says:

    wow, I just realized that the dialogues are pretty… cheesy?
    I didn't noticed that when I read the book, but when you read it chapter per chapter…

  29. Ken says:

    One thing to remember is that we've got a lot more time to think about things than Katniss does. Our reviewing time is perhaps a bit longer than her playing time, and we are a hell of a lot less busy and frazzled than she is. She misses things? Big surprise… her brain is not firing on all cylinders!

  30. bell_erin_a says:

    I don't have much to add, besides the fact that this seems less forced when you read the book as a whole. But others have already said that so superfluous comment is more or less superfluous.

    Haha, they get that lamb stew with the dried plums and Katniss kinda freaks out. I find that kinda funny for some reason.

    ALSO TRY JUST A LITTLE HARDER, KATNISS. I KNOW YOU THINK HE'S PLAYING THE GAME BUT COME ON. Although I'm not one to talk, since at the rate I'm going, I'll die alone in a house full of cats or dogs. Something like that, tears forever.

  31. Stephalopolis says:

    It actually made me feel uncomfortable to read the section about romance. I know Peeta's intentions are real, but reading Katniss' calculations and plotting love just felt odd to me.

    But, I can't complain about this chapter because it gave me this sentence:

    "No. Thresh broke her skull with a rock."
    *big grin*
    I also really liked Peeta's story about when he first realized his crush on Katniss (though, the whole "beautiful singing voice, stopping birds was a little blunt and weird"). It's true- you do remember specific moments like that. I was at a 5th gradee end of school dance, and danced with one of the boys in my class (at that age, you dance with everyone in your class) and he stuck out to me- I remember going home and thinking of him as my cute cuddly warm teddy bear. 13 years later, we're engaged and getting married in 16 months (though, much like Katniss and Peeta we ignored each other all throughout school and only started talking/became friends after high school graduation.)

  32. malarkiness says:

    Oh God, I was side-eying Peeta so much through this chapter. IDK, I know he seems so genuine, but it just bugs me that Katniss is forced to play along without meaning any of it. I know he didn't come up with this whole "Star Crossed Lovers" routine just to manipulate her or anything, but still. Do not want.

    That said, IA about the romance. More do not want.

    • iolchos says:

      YES, THANK YOU. Does anyone have a problem with it that Katniss is so OBVIOUSLY *not feeling it* and Peeta hasn't caught up to that one bit? This chick broke his hands right before the Games when he said he liked her, HE KNOWS ABOUT GALE, AND SHE TRIED TO KILL HIM. WITH MUTANT BUGS. And now that the rules have changed and her chances of survival have escalated if she's with him, and there's an element of shame if she returns home without him, she wants to cuddle? WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT PEETA'S THICK SKULL MY GOD, THAT KID IS HALLUCINATING.

  33. Sarah B. says:

    I have to bring up a criticism of Mark's criticism of the book. Now, I'm not the type of person who needs to love everything about a book to enjoy it, and I recognize that there issues with Collins' writing. However, I don't think that sledgehammer-ly obviousness is as much of an issue as Mark seems to think. These books were targeted at young adults, and middle schoolers are just starting to learn how to read critically. Things like recognizing foreshadowing and "reading between the lines" are skills that must be built up, so things that seem glaringly obvious to adult readers might an appropriate level of subtly for younger readers.

    I know that some of you are thinking "But what about Harry Potter? That's subtle!" Leaving aside the issue of whether or not those are truly children's books (and at what point that stop being so), a great deal of the middle schoolers I work with who have read Harry Potter don't pick up on a lot of information, even in the first two books. It's TOO subtle for them. There's nothing wrong with writing books slightly above a child's ability level; that's how they learn. But I don't see anything wrong with Collins being "obvious," either.

  34. readmeatune says:

    Ok, Caesar Flickerman. This is what is flashing in my head everytime I see that name. Everybody else had like normal people who they imagined as Caesar, but with all the wild fashions and stuff, this is exactly what I pictured. Hopefully this shows up because it took me forever to figure out how to post pictures.
    <img src=""&gt;

  35. bell_erin_a says:

    Wow, the Princess Bride scene was what did it for me with quicksand, too. It scared me that they couldn't breathe and all that sand, ouch, and what if they both had gone in and no one was there to rescue them???

    But I never had quicksand dreams that I remember. Or ones about thunder. It was just my fear of thunder that kept me from sleeping haha. But I outgrew that one and developed this irrational fear of snakes that means I don't go outside after dark because NC, we have copperheads galore, ugh I can't even think about it. But add snakes to your quicksand dream and HOLY CRAP WHY DID MY BRAIN EVER GO THERE NIGHTMARES FOREVER.

    Also, thank god there haven't been any snakes in this book so far because I can't even read about them. That fear would get me killed RIGHT AWAY if I were a tribute.

    In conclusion: quicksand and irrational fears suck?

    • amandajane5 says:

      Oh my heavens! My fear of snakes is actually NC based, though the copperheads did start it. I had an eight-foot black snake curl up next to my head at summer camp in the mountains in NC, which was terrifying enough, but the fact that half it's body had actually been outside on the tree is what did it for me. CANNOT HANDLE SNAKES!!!!


      These books are awesome and I'm on my third re-read (I didn't start until Mark was on Chapter Ten…I have no restraint) but as a fellow snake-disliker I can tell you that it's not going to be an issue. I feel like I can hear your sigh of relief from here.

      • bell_erin_a says:


        Haha my siblings have been to camp in the mountains for the past couple of summers and I'm all "have fun getting eaten alive by the mosquitoes and the snakes (the snakes) ugh." I've never been a huge outdoorsy person, but the snakes. The year I developed that fear (I was like 14 or so. Look, I don't even know what happened) that was IT for me going camping or whatever.

        My mother said they were hiking in a park a few months ago and saw a rattlesnake which freaked me out even more because THERE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE RATTLESNAKES IN THE NC PIEDMONT! Thank god I go to school in DC where there absolutely cannot be any snakes because the number of rats running around directly contradicts their presence.

        Haha, I've read them all, but thanks for the heads-up anyway! I was just trying not to be spoilery. But if you want, Mark, HOLY SHIT IN THE NEXT CHAPTER THERE ARE LIKE 20-FT LONG SNAKES THAT EAT UP EVERYONE EXCEPT THRESH BECAUSE HE'S SO BIG THEY CAN'T SWALLOW HIM AND ALSO HE'S A ZEN MASTER NINJA. YEAH. :p

      • Lily says:

        Lol I've spent my entire life in the NC mountains.
        My cat brings snakes home all the time. It's hilarious because my dad is terrified of snakes. He screams so loudly hahahahahaha
        Once my mother and I curled up a 6ft dead black snake in the seat of his truck as a practical joke. He passed out. Yes, we are terrible people. We already know this. My mother is terrified of rats, and there have been plenty of jokes about that. I don't fear anything, so they don't have any leverage on me lol

        Btw, black snakes aren't dangerous at all. We capture them and put them in our barn to keep away the rats.

  36. empath_eia says:

    I'm a bit sad that you're so unhappy with Katniss's characterization, because she's really a lot like me. I'm very pragmatic and aromantic despite also being responsible and caring a lot about my family and the select few I call my friends. I take care of people. I don't get gushy over them.

    I honestly wouldn't assume someone was in love with me until they said so outright (and I also wouldn't have trusted Peeta's confession before the Games, because it could be construed to be under duress, since he needed any advantage he could get). I do experience emotion, obviously, but not usually all that strongly, and when traumatic things happen in my life I go into a kind of hyperfocused emotionless Get Shit Done state that can last a really long time. And if I were in her position with something as traumatic as the Games going on, emotions would be dead last on my list of important things to pay attention to. Peeta putting emotion above survival would not make sense to me, so I would put trying to figure that out on the back burner until the really important stuff was taken care of. So it didn't bother me at all that she doesn't "get it." I wouldn't either. It's only as an outside observer without the pressure of survival to focus on that it seems obvious.

    Katniss's teaspoonitude made perfect sense to me and I really enjoyed reading about someone whose mind made sense to me. I can empathize with more emotional characters, but they never feel quite as real to me.

    I can understand why she doesn't resonate with you. I'm just sad that you're not enjoying her point of view as much as I did. Don't mind me. 😛

    ETA: This comment is a mess because I'm sick and can't string sentences together to save my life.

    • Ken says:

      It made perfect sense to me. Perhaps because being inside Katniss's head is a familiar experience for me too. My history is completely different, but I have about as much trouble as she does reading people and figuring out exactly how someone feels about me. My now-wife had to make the first move, by surprising me with a kiss, in order for me to catch on!

      • empath_eia says:

        The particular oddness of people like Katniss and myself, I've found, is that in general we're quite good at reading people… as long as they're not feeling those things about /us./ I don't know if that's true for you, but I'm very good at understanding people's relationships as long as I'm not one of the people in question.

  37. Mary says:

    Its really starting to piss me off how everyone is getting on Katniss for having a low emotional range. This girl had to run a family since she was 11 years old, by herself. She didnt have time to have crushes on anybody else, she had to work to feed her family. This is all new to her, just give her a break. I love how strong Katniss is, shes a survivor. Sometimes love isnt the way to survive, you have to be tough. Katniss has had to be tough since she was 11. Peeta was raised in a comfortable home with plenty of food. He has had time to think about crushes. Geezzzzz

    • malarkiness says:


    • Kelseyintherain says:

      I love this comment. SO MUCH THIS!

      (although, I do think that should should at least be a question to her, whether he's faking or not.)

      • Mary says:

        yea thats true, but i think because shes in the game, thats the last thing on her mind. survival is and she just assumes peeta is thinking that way to

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I can get Katniss feeling this way, but my problem is that Collins has written it so far to one extreme that it's not believable.

      • Mary says:

        it is pretty extreme but maybe thats the point, shes trying to emphasize how this world and this government has turned a young girl into this non-emotional survivalist…maybe this extreme writing is just a way of showing how being forced to survive so young turns you into someone that doesnt understand love

      • Inessa says:

        Don't forget that Katniss has thought from the beginning that this was a strategy of Peeta's so all her thinking after is built on this hypothesis. From her point of view, it would make sense for Peeta to hike up the act, now that the sponsors are likely to reward them. Then, they are both literally "acting" to an audience, and are constantly aware of it. It's hard to think about what you are really feeling or whether it's an act or real when your future might end any minute and while you are also featuring in a national soap opera of sorts. I think I would put the emotions to the side till the ordeal was over.

  38. Shanella says:

    This chapter was a bit awkward to me. Reading it I just wanted to hit Katniss over the head with the book and tell her that Peeta isn't faking and she needs to GET WITH IT already!!! *rawr*

    Peeta's story won me over though =) It was cute. *smile*

  39. xkcdhobbes says:

    I found it nice when Peeta says that his name being picked in the Reaping was a piece of luck. It basically means I don't care that all this unbelievably dangerous stuff happened and that I almost died, I'm happy to be here with you. It's a bit too cute…

  40. barnswallowkate says:

    Here is a long and occasionally odd article about how quicksand used to be all over movies and TV (which is why people our age were scared of it as kids, Mark) and how it's out of style now. Page 3 even mentions the scene that made you scared of quicksand.

    I saw Neverending Story when I was a kid. Once the horse got quicksand-ed I turned it off and have never seen it again. I don't care if he comes back at the end or whatever BS people try to tell me, I loved horses and it was traumatic!

    Back to the book: yes, this chapter is boring, but now I really want lamb stew on wild rice.

    • Ken says:

      Les Miserables has an aside of about four or five pages telling us exactly what it's like to fall victim to quicksand. Then Jean Valjean steps into something disturbingly like quicksand, except that it's in a sewer, underground, in complete darkness and solitude, smelling like a sewer, and about a thousand times more hideous to slowly fall victim to.

      I wonder how accurate those passages are now…

    • paulineparadise says:

      I turned it off as well – I just couldn't watch it anymore. About three months ago, when I was really ill, I watched it again – this time, the entire thing.

      But I made lunch during the quicksand scene – it was TOO painful to watch.

  41. Nova says:

    The thing is, this game IS plotted in a way. The game masters have brought in the lull before the storm. Let people have time to recover before the final confrontation. After all, everyone being hurt and limping around when shit starts to get real would make things less interesting for the audience. (I don't actually remember what happens after this, but I seriously doubt that either the author or the game masters would make this thing end on a slow note. To them, this just adds an extra bit of suspense.)

    This chapter was easilly skimmable when reading through the first time though, so I think it bothered most of us unromantics less than it does you because you're actually trying to get all introspective on it.

  42. Kate says:

    I was Katniss in high school. Hitting on me was apparently like trying to chat up a brick wall. I just didn't think that way – I was friendly and outgoing with everyone, both sexes, and it never occurred to me that what I was getting back from boys was anything other than friendship and having interests in common. In hindsight, low self-esteem was a factor – I didn't think there was any reason for someone to "like" like me, so I dismissed the idea. My friends were constantly trying to convince me that so-and-so was completely in love with me, and I always argued that they were being ridiculous, that we were just friends, etc etc.

    If you had put 16-year-old me into a situation where there were other possible motives (ie survival, sponsors) for Peeta's behaviour, I probably would have chalked it up to those. Or fear of dying a virgin. Certainly not a genuine interest in me. So I get it. Katniss is dense, but not unrealistically so. She doesn't see herself as an object of attraction, so the idea that Peeta would be attracted to her is rejected. Since that can't be it, he must be playing the game. It's all fairly logical from a non-girly-girl teen girl standpoint.

  43. CINNAmon says:

    Mark, did you post Chapter 21? Or am I the only one who can't see it??

    • Lynn says:

      Hit the home button at the top left of the page and it will pop up. Same things happened for me and this is the only way I found it yesterday.

  44. Nakeefeet says:

    ITA about the ’emotional range of a teaspoon’ bit. I want to like Katniss, but this makes it more difficult.

    Also, Mark, don’t read the Entertainment Weekly dated Dec 24 & 31. After all these chapters with you I was just spoiled. *cries*

  45. jennreyn says:

    Well that wasn't a very exciting chapter.

    And so, I will only say that I had a similar obsessin with quicksand as a child and that scene from The Neverending Story is probably in my top 10 most heartbreaking scenes ever committed to film (the other four belong to assorted Pixar movies, The Lion King and Brokeback Mountain), because even though the horse comes back at the end I CANNOT HANDLE animals dying on screen.

  46. ilram says:

    Eh I admit I'm a sucker for the "oblivious to how totally in love the other is"- trope 🙂 So I just feel a bit bad for Peeta. Doesn't stop me from shipping it.

    I guess nothing really happened in this chapter. But it's about to get real.

  47. lindseytinsey says:

    Ja, this chapter was really boring.

  48. Penquin47 says:

    Boring chapter was… well, I'm sure if I was reading this normally, boring chapter would be perfectly fine. But there's a reason for the huge difference in my ability to put off reading until AFTER my drive, as opposed to the past two weeks where I've read before driving.

    (Many Fridays I drive from my home to my parents' house 100 miles away, especially during the holiday season.)

  49. Revolution64 says:

    Speaking of romantic morons, my crush poked me in the side as I was walking down the hall.
    I literally prayed that he was flirting. Oh God.

    ANYWAYS, Katniss, you make me want to throw a brick at your face. Rue and Peeta should've gotten together. Awesome = awesome. It's simple mathematics.

  50. Dannie. says:

    Yeah, Katniss is SO annoying in this chapter.

  51. Garth says:

    …Even in a story about children killing children all romance must be chaste as chaste can be. Harrah for double standards!

    I’m not saying that Katniss and Peeta need to have steamy, what have we got to loose, one/both of us are going to die anyway, sex. Some sexual tension would be good though. I find it a bit strange that Katniss doesn’t seem to be turned on at all by this.

    • corporatecake says:

      Of course she doesn't feel turned on. She's acting.

      • Lynn says:

        Yep Corporatecake great point. She is (mostly) acting. I don't see why a girl with little interest in romance or relationships would be getting all sexual on us. That would be completely inconsistent with her character at this point.

        • Kate says:

          Even if she wasn't acting, the entire country is watching. Including her mother and sister. And Peeta's parents. Katniss doesn't strike me as a girl with an exhibitionist streak.

    • iolchos says:

      …she is turned on at one point though. That whole bit about 'this is the first kiss where I feel something OH EM GEE' was her getting turned on. Plus there's a sense that in the arena, nudity isn't associated with sex (since who has sex in the arena? prior to Peeta and Katniss, we get the impression that no one has ever considered this, because of obvious reason). When she was cleaning his leg at the stream, she refused to strip him of his underwear, even though he pointed out he didn't care – she did, and I think that's telling. She still sees *Peeta's* nudity as significant and can't identify it as strictly clinical; the idea of that boy being entirely naked before her makes her nervous. And for a girl who, at her age, hasn't ever dated anyone, can't tell that her possessiveness over her "hunting partner" might be indicative of suppressed romantic feelings? I think that we can't expect more from her, in terms of sexual tension, than for her to express discomfort at the suggestion. SHE'S SUCH A VIRGIN, COME ON.

      (as for the rest? I mean, well, he's got this nasty leg and full of infection and fever and they probably haven't had a GOOD bath, either of them, in a while, so I don't know this is the maximum romantic setting, ya know? especially with cameras rolling, 24/7. She even says a couple of times, when she starts feeling something for Peeta, that she doesn't like that the cameras are there because it's an invasion of a private moment which, in turn, would neutralize her ability to let something progress.)

      I don't know it's a double standard; we're only seeing Peeta and Katniss and how they themselves are being presented (and presenting themselves) in the context of the Games, or the Capitol, because the action focuses on them. The object of the Games is to exploit the tributes, primarily with violence. Sex has no place here. It's not a matter of prudishness as much as relevance. Plus, I think that their romance – assuming its the first of its kind in the arena – could signify a very chilling shift for the Capitol and how they're willing to exploit these children for entertainment. She has to use her sexuality (and he his) in order to win favor from sponsors to win the Games – and bend the rules. It's still a form of exploitation. That they're 16 or whatever, so it's still kinda creepy that people are turning some teenager's first love affair into TV, especially when if one of them dies, everyone will know that whatever heartache the survivor suffers would not have existed absent these Games.

  52. MowerOfLorn says:

    Since I'm not big on romance either, I can definitely see why this is starting to bug you a bit, Mark. When people give me shipping, I give them a blank stare in return.

    That being said, it doesn't bother me so much in this book, mostly because it isn't straight forward "Do I like him? Does he like me? I don't want to ruin our friendship!" style. I like the concept of putting on a charade because of politics- and unlike other 'arranged romances' Katniss isn't allowed to let her performance drop, since there's no privacy. For me, its this dynamic which makes chapters like this interesting.

    • erin says:

      This. I wonder if people would find Katniss less annoying if instead of thinking "Yep, he's acting for the cameras. Ok, let's do this. *AWKWARDLY PRETENDS TO RETURN FEELINGS*" the whole book went "Omg, he loves me? Really? Omggg nuh uh! Or… is he acting? But he seems so sweet! But we're in a life or death situation! He could be faking… But he seems so genuine! And oh gosh, what if I like him back? But what if I'm reading him wrong? And why is that wall of fire advancing on me?"

      That would drive. Me. Nuts.

  53. Tabbyclaw says:

    I'm another girl who wouldn't recognize flirtation if you wrote it in the form of insightful commentary about Doctor Who, wrapped it in that lavender silk laceweight yarn I've been coveting, and had it delivered by a kitten. This does not make Katniss' constant "Gosh, it's a good thing this is all totally fakey fake fake!" obliviousness any more relatable or interesting because it's trying to put reasonable cluelessness into a completely unreasonable situation.

  54. corporatecake says:

    If you're a girl who's never had a boy like you (as far as you're aware), and are socially awkward, being told that someone has a crush on you is utterly baffling. To the point where you can't really believe it. Plus, Peeta has good reason to lie.

    Anyway, I like this chapter. I like the break. I thought their conversation was interesting.

    Then again, I also loved the infamous camping bits of HP, so to each their own.

    • pennylane27 says:

      You're not alone. I loved the camping and this chapter didn't bother me at all. 😉

    • LadyLately says:

      I'm so glad I'm not the only one who likes the supposedly 'boring' bits of books. It's why I like Robin McKinley! It's fantasy! With time for naps (literally, in the case of The Blue Sword)!
      I rather enjoy naps. Clearly I am either 5 or 80.

  55. bookling says:

    Wait. I'm kind of confused as to why you think Katniss still thinks Peeta is acting? I think it was pretty clear soon after Katniss found Peeta that he's being genuine. And unless I'm mistaken, she hasn't actually questioned his feelings in a few chapters — that's why she feels especially shitty about faking it. It's bad enough that she's not interested and is doing it for the audience, but it's worse because she knows his feelings are real.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Doesn't she constantly reference that Peeta is playing up the act? Let me consult my book later when I get home.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      She hasn't really been questioning it for a while, but it seems like it's only in this chapter that Katniss realizes that Peeta's been telling the truth. To me, it seems like she was just too distracted by other things to think about it in the past few chapters.

      "…Because we're supposed to be making up this stuff, playing at being in love but not actually being in love. But Peeta's story has a ring of truth to it. That part about my father and the birds. And I did sing the first day of school, though I don't remember the song. And that red plaid dress…there was one, a hand-me-down to Prim that got washed to rags after my father's death.
      It would explain another thing, too. Why Peeta took a beating to give me the bread on that awful, hollow day. So if these details are true…could it all be true?"

  56. karsenslater says:

    "Basically, it feels plotted."

    There! I hadn't been able to put a finger on what was mainly bothering me about this book.

  57. Mowgli3 says:

    Peeta >>>>>>>>> Katniss

  58. Erica says:

    I can't come down on Katniss too hard b/c the girl is in survival mode here. Scratch that, she's been in survival mode since the age of 11. Her social intelligence (or lack thereof) is certainly cringeworthy, but it's also very consistent with her life experiences. I'd find these chapters much, much worse if she suddenly began gushing all over Peeta. That would ring less true than her constantly doubting his motives IMO.

  59. Julia_Vaughn says:

    This chapter is SO much more bearable when you're not reading on chapter at a time. I didn't even notice its boringness until I read your review.

  60. Kelly L. says:

    You know what, though? If I were 16, I would probably be equally as oblivious. I probably WAS equally as oblivious when I was 16. I'm just going to throw that out there from the perspective of someone who was once, in fact, a horribly naive sixteen year old girl. You may be wanting to smack her upside the head, but I think on some level, it's totally legit, because, well. If I were in that situation.. actually, no. If I were in that situation I would probably be DEAD already, but you know what I mean.

    Poor Peeta, though. He's all "OMG I'VE LOVED YOU FOREVER" and she's all "HERE'S A KISS! LET'S HOPE WE GET FOOD!" which, actually, I'm willing to forgive her for, because she's keeping them alive. So there's that.

  61. celestineangel1 says:

    Dear Katniss,

    Get a freaking clue and STOP. BEING. THICKHEADED.

    Thank you,


  62. IsabelArcher2 says:

    Also, don't forget that we have a SPOILER webpage thingy. I don't know words. You should check it out and comment on this chapter in a way that reflects the books/end of book as a whole. Or whatever. Here is the link:

    Again, in fair warning, this page contains a shit ton of SPOILERS (I feel like this word should be capitalized at all times).

  63. ooohlivia says:

    Um, so. Prepare for wall of text. Beware all ye who enter here.

    I have had the whole ~blind to a guy's feelings~ thing happen before. A girl I know (who is a pretty shitty person for doing this, btw, god) forwarded an email that our mutual guy friend had written her proclaiming his feelings for me, and I was completely and utterly blindsided by it. I don't recall him displaying any obvious signs of liking me when I look back, so maybe it's different to the whole Peeta and Katniss thing, but then again maybe I am merely equally as unobservant as Katniss is.
    But really, I don't feel like I should have ~known~ or anything. It happened another time as well with a closer friend. The situation was mildly different as I did have suspicions about this dude and was also filled with completely turbulent and confusing thoughts regarding my own feeling towards him, which I still haven't resolved tbh. Which I feel is similar to Katniss' relationship with Peeta. She is beginning to develop feelings for him like when they kiss (dude, this same thing happened to me in spin the bottle, lmao) and is probably really scared by this (I was, I couldn't even eat breakfast the next day it made me so nervous). So if she is blind about Peeta's liking her could well be because she is in denial.

    I hope this story doesn't seem like I am a complete ass who just wants to talk about myself all day. It's just to illustrate that while I may not be particularly interested by the romance in this book, I can certainly relate to it and the confusing time of Teenagerhood when there are feeeellllings and everything is Hormone City. I do not think Katniss is dumb. She is doing her very best to survive, and hormones and teenage feelings are not really what she wants to be focusing on, so this is probably her way of compartmentalizing. Not to mention the fact she's simply not a very intimate person so probably isn't that good at picking up on other people's emotions. She has to provide for her family, yes, but she's very much focused on keeping herself alive more than anything. Selfish, perhaps, but she has to be. That's what the Capitol did, and it's very sad that she doesn't get the chance to experience a normal teenage life where Peeta could just ask her on a date and she could write about how confusing it is in her diary and work out her feelings in a much healthier environment.

    Have a nice vaguely related picture to make this more aesthetically pleasing<img width="250" height="358" alt="" src="; />

  64. dumbxblonde07 says:

    Does it bother anyone else that they're making out but neither has a tooth brush? I know what my morning breath is like, I'd hate to think of their's… I guess if they both have the gross mouth problem it doesn't matter…

  65. dumbxblonde07 says:

    Also, Mark, probably the entirely wrong place for this, but I remember a while back you tweeted about wanting to watch the Misfits.

    Season 1:

    Season 2:

    I'll let you decide on the legality of both options because I am entirely unsure. I can tell you it is a fantastic show so far! (I'm about to start episode 4).

  66. paulineparadise says:

    I don't have any fanart for this chapter.

    (Also, I had a really great party last night from 9 PM 'till 4 AM – and school from 8 AM 'till 12 AM. After that, I fell asleep at home, woke up late, rushed to another party at 6 PM. Yeah my life is pretty much great.)

    However, I do have a completely irrelevant GIF.

    <img src=""&gt;

  67. Hotaru-hime says:

    Ugh, I can't stand the way Katniss behaves towards Peeta. I mean, I know she doesn't have any experience, but he is practically slapping her in the face with his love.

    • iolchos says:

      I've always thought she knew she was just in denial. That kind of love ain't really something I feel she's ready to face!

  68. iolchos says:

    WHAT HAPPENED TO CHAPTER 21? Is my internet broken? I never saw this review published!

  69. liza says:

    emotional depth of a teaspoon? someone's been reading a lil too much hp 😉

  70. Danielle says:

    Katniss is just so blah and apathetic about the relationship. If the actual character can't work up a bit of enthusiasm, how am I supposed to?

  71. feanna says:

    Yeah, wasn't there a whole ep of Freezer rising in energy levels without a single punch being thrown? (I got into a screaming fight with my mother because she didn't want me to watch tv and I wanted to see the grand finale and all I got was ENERGY LEVELS????)

    Not that this was somehow special, it's just the one I remember most. Yeah, totally tolerance building.

  72. Flan says:

    "Again, emotional depth of a teaspoon." Ah, Harry Potter rears it's amazingly well-written head. 🙂

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      Ooops, so sorry. I accidentally hit the down vote when clearly I want to up vote because I believe HP should be making random appearances in all reviews. If we can bash Twilight, we should be able to keep praising HP. I'm SORRY!!!

  73. Sharon says:

    I did like the gender role change in this chapter, you know? "I'll hunt, you'll cook"

    and unfortunately that's about it. I was pretty bored by this chapter too.

    But I love you HP references with the emmotional depth of a teaspoon good sir.

  74. qwopisinthemailbox says:

    "…It’s funny that the moment I began to fear quicksand was when I first saw The Neverending Story. The part where Atreyu begins to drown in the swamp is awful AND IT ISN’T REALLY EVEN QUICKSAND but I thought it was…"

    I HAD THE SAME REACTION TO THAT PART. That scene scared the crap outta me as a kid, and i think i had issues with mud or something after watching it….

  75. agirlinport says:

    Random thought. I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but I'm beginning to think that maybe all the strange names of these characters is Collins's commentary on the trends of baby names in America right now. People want the names of their kids to be unique, and you end up with some really strange ones. Just look at some of the children of celebrities: Pillow, Blanket, Pilot Inspektor, etc. If this is supposed to be a long time in the future, it makes sense that names would have reached a whole new level. I don't know if it's meant to be an active commentary…but I think it'd be cool if it was.

  76. Jen says:

    A fear of quicksand everywhere is no more irrational than my fear of falling down stormdrains if I walked near them, as a kid.

    • Melissa says:

      Or getting sucked down them by a freaky clown…but I'm probably the only person whose mother let her read It at the age of 10.

  77. Pseudonymph says:

    I think it's kind of weird that being oblivious and inexperienced with romance is being equated with lack of emotional depth.

    I guess Hermione did the same thing to Ron in Harry Potter. Just because someone is not good at interpreting the emotions of others doesn't mean they experience fewer emotions or weaker emotions. Some people are more emotionally intelligent but it doesn't make them more emotional.

  78. marylacey says:

    Can someone please tell me how to post gifs in the comments, please?
    I've been completely deprived from posting them on this new site.

  79. herpestidae says:

    Pff. six? The Frieza fight had to be at least 20.

  80. Inessa says:

    I really think you may be being too hard on Katniss. Firstly, her experience with romantic love, and its consequences, has been watching her world essentially collapse, when her mother's hearbreak nearly destroyed them. Then, the whole Peeta's crush thing came out of the blue, in a situation where she has just been selected to probably lose her life shortly. Even if Peeta's consistency in his treatment of her demonstrated that he is genuine, I think it is believable that Katniss thinks he's faking. Firstly, she had this idea initially, so all her attitude since stems from the notion that he's faking. Secondly, she doesn't want to dwell on whether it's genuine as there is a high chance of them not making it out alive, so it makes sense that being introspective about her feelings for Peeta is not high on her priority list.

  81. Inessa says:

    It makes sense that she might want to deal with how she feels about Peeta or Gale, if and when she survives. Besides, even if Peeta is genuine, the romance plays out in front of camera, so it's hard to explore feelings of first love, or to act her feelings out, because the situation is artificial, and at least this way, they get food.
    I think it's harsh to say she doesn't have feelings for him; actions speak louder than words – when push came to shove the thing Katniss said she needed most desperately… was medicine for Peeta. She had a better chance of surviving if she stayed with Peeta till he died, but she risked her life to save his. She may not have thought about why she did this out loud for the reader, and it may not have been romantic, but risking your life like that, is an act of love. It's not romantic, but she must be driven by love.

  82. kajacana says:

    [No time to read through 4 pages of comments, sorry if this is a repeat!]

    Like many others, when I read this book I tore through it like it was the first food I'd seen in days. Because of that, I didn't notice a lot of what you are noticing and elaborating on here. I remember being vaguely irritated by Katniss at this point in the story, but mostly I was too distracted by TURNING THE PAGES OMG to really care that much. But reading your reactions as you read this story in small chunks really emphasizes how frakking dense Katniss is being, and how boring the cave-sitting is, and etc.

    BUT, in Katniss's defense re: not knowing that Peeta likes her… sometimes people are really like that. I know I am. I have given my number to guys and then been shocked when they used it to ask me out. I have had guy friends who have had intense crushes on me and I was completely oblivious to the most obvious signs in the world. Katniss is only 16, and her life hasn't exactly been brimming with meaningful relationships or even punctuated with any sort of romance whatsoever, so I can sort of understand why she's being slow.

  83. Dragonizer says:

    Well, there ARE people out there without the necessary social skills/brains to realize VERY OBVIOUS THINGS. I've known a few (terrible) people of the sort that thought they were best buddies with everyone, when in fact everyone CLEARLY DESPISES THEM. Worst people ever, seriously. And of course there are people that dumb to not get things such as other people crushing on them and whatnot.
    But yeah… Having a MAIN CHARACTER like that is a little much, I'll have to admit.

    …But Peeta is worth it all. <<

    • Sizzlelucid says:

      AGREE!!! (especially your last comment)

      Peeta is definitely worth everything. He makes me swoon. I can't help it.

      I need to attend a Fangirl Anonymous meeting for this. Girls in their early 20's crushing after underage fictional bakers. I don't think this is okay.

  84. vaporeon13204 says:

    Katniss = teaspoon. Seriously. >>; Poor poor Peeta. XD;

    • Inessa says:

      But Katniss risked her life for him. Poor Peeta wouldn't be having this conversation if she didn't go out there just for medicine to save him (no direct reward for her). What happened to actions speaking louder than words? I expect Katniss doesn't prophess her love to Prim either, but keeps her alive, provides for her, and ultimately takes her place in the hunger games. Even Peeta points out that this demonstrates her love. Is it a stretch that her risking her life for Peeta, demonstrates love, even if she can't yet admit it to herself.

  85. Katherine says:

    I don't get why you're so bothered by Katniss drugging Peeta to put him to sleep. Seriously she did it to enable her to risk her life to save his. You don't get a much more beneficent motive than that. He's not upset with her because he sees it as a betrayal; he's upset because he's in love and values her own life more than his own.

  86. Inessa says:

    Why did Peeta never speak to Katniss all those years? Also, does it bother anyone that he essentially loves her because, well we don't know why except she intrigued him as a small child. It is clear that his affection for her is genuine but what is it based on?

  87. Liz says:

    Hahaha… emotional depth of a teaspoon. Nice HP reference 🙂

  88. Ash says:

    Quicksand’s a funny thing, it’s probably really difficult to die in but it seems to be one of them devices used in movies and TV shows so people end up with far more fear and paranoia than is really ever necessary. I mean thinking about just how damn buoyant you’d be in the stuff is pretty funny. Although if you did get stuck in it getting out is a slow and exhausting affair. I heard the best way is to wiggle your limbs and very slowly try to pull out as you do.

    What is actually a terrifying concept is dry quicksand. It’s never been witnessed in nature and it might not actually be possible but even just the concept. It’s incredibly fragile stuff; the grains are so lightly packed together. When you stand on it you don’t even have a chance you just fall and get swallowed up in an instant, you might as well be falling into an empty hole. It’s only been managed in very controlled conditions though. It’s so fragile anything could disturb the process; a slight breeze, something even very small and light falling onto it, the countless animals and insects in the world that would disturb it. Even still since it can be produced artificially it would be a pretty cool think to actually include in movies and books.

    I wonder if it’s the kind of messed up things that would be considered for the hunger games. Probably not though since it wouldn’t produce much of a sceptical.

  89. 4and6forever says:

    Soooooo… What ever happened to that green and silver moth? What was its relevance to the story at all? Random moth is random.

  90. studious_mom says:

    I haven't read all the comments, so maybe this has already been pointed out, but I always got the feeling that Katniss was being thick about Peeta's feelings on purpose.

    You know that really uncomfortable moment when you realize a good friend, someone whose company you enjoy and whose sense of humor you value, has a crush on you? And for whatever reason — life circumstances, personal maturity, or maybe you're just plain not attracted to them — you don't want to acknowledge it, because acknowledging it makes it real and then you have to deal with it.

  91. Katarina says:

    I'm pretty okay with Katniss not allowing herself to realize that Peeta's feelings are real, because what difference would it do to her? Normally, a guy liking or not liking a girl affects the girl's behaviour (one way or another), but Katniss has to do exactly the same things whether Peeta likes her or not. His feelings are of no consequence to her – the people she has to concern herself with are the viewers, particularly Capitol. If she allowed herself to think about what she's doing, she'd realize that it's pretty shitty, and she'd still have to keep doing it. Better not to wonder at all.

  92. Rose Brazeale says:

    "Again, emotional depth of a teaspoon." Mark! You more or less quoted Hermione! Did you notice that? 😀 Hermione said Ron had the emotional range of a teaspoon, remember?

  93. ShayzGirl says:

    I love romance stories (and have attempted to write a few myself, even though my only real relationship ended in total heartbreak, which still puts me in a rage every now and then, even though it's almost been a year since the break-up) but I don't believe any of the romance crap in these books. Especially now. Like, maybe from Peeta's end, but Katniss is just so… blank I guess is the right word. How the hell are they making this into a movie, when there are pages upon pages of complete nothingness? Ugh. Disappointed. Complete and totally.

  94. julia says:

    u need to watch this Mark!!
    [youtube HDoJQIcfTQA youtube]

Comments are closed.