Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Win a Copy of Mockingjay!

Have you finished it yet?

I had my own, personal copy of Mockingjay preordered from the moment The Internet would let me do it, back before it had a cover or even a name! When it finally arrived, I carried it around with me for three days without even opening it, because I felt it was "too precious to read."

I'm always a bit worried about the end of a series--any series. It's far too easy for authors to try to cram in more information than is necessary or leave out so much that we're all frustrated that we don't know how, for example, Harry and his friends managed to get from the battlefield to, well, the rest of their lives. Sadly, each reader thinks that a different amount of information is vital. Some would be satisfied with the knowledge that life would go on, while others would want to know the birth dates of the protagonist's children, their occupation, their yearly gross income, the make and model of their car, and so forth.

I am somewhere in the middle. If an author wraps up two hundred pages of conflict with a paragraph designed to convince me that everything will be just fine after all, I will not believe them. Instead, I will roll my eyes, sigh, and pick up the next book from my reading pile. I have a pile of books I must read. It's very tall. I have much less patience for the last book in a series. If an author screws up that last book, the final volume in a series...I hate the whole series. Ask me how many times I've read through the Harry Potter books (I lost count at 20). Now ask me how many times I've read them since the last book came out (not once). Why? Because, in my opinion, J.K. Rowling blew the ending (naturally, you may disagree with me, I expect it). This is coming from the girl who had her ENTIRE BEDROOM decorated in Harry Potter paraphernalia. I made my own wand. Really. I didn't just love those books. I LIVED those books. But now they sit undisturbed on my bookshelf, flanked by my Harry Potter bookends*.

I tell you all this in order to make it clear to you how high my standards are for series fiction, so you won't take it lightly when I tell you:

It was beautiful--wonderful! I can't express in words how fantastic it was! I could tell you why, but it would mean Spoilers, and we are a Spoiler-Free zone here on the blog.

Instead, I will tell you the following:

1. Collins wrote in just enough information for me to be content with Katniss' story. I didn't put the book down thinking that she'd left me with too little information or certain that life wouldn't have worked out so seamlessly for everyone after all they'd been through in the first two books.

2. I cried. A lot.

3. I wanted to strangle several main characters (because they weren't doing what I thought they should). I wanted to murder others (because they were so evil). Still more characters just needed a hug, after all they'd been through (including some of the ones I wanted to strangle).

4. At one point near the end, I may have screamed.

5. The scream may have taken place in the middle of the library.

6. I have caught myself singing several of the songs from the book, despite the fact that I don't know what the actual melodies should be. I made up my own.

7. I take comfort in the knowledge that I'm not the only person who has done this**.

Oh, and one other thing. I loved Mockingjay so much, I feel the urgent need to give a copy away.

That's right! I have a brand new, shiny, hardcover copy of Mockingjay to give to one of you. In order to get your chance to win it, you have to do one simple thing...

Well, one thing other than walk into the library. We'll assume you are already here.

Go to the circulation desk upstairs, get an entry form. Then you will answer my little trivia question, because I like to check and see that you're paying attention. Then you must fill out the rest of said entry form COMPLETELY before handing it to the person behind the desk. They will then put it in the Legendary Re-purposed Coffee Can, and you will be entered.

The not-so-fine print? Here it is:

You, personally, may only fill out and turn in one entry form. One. Not twelve. One. So when I open the top, I shouldn't see five entries from you. I should see one with your name on it. Just the one. That's 1. One. Uno. Unless you jump through some hoops for me. I'll explain in a moment. If you jump through the aforementioned hoops, I will see your name more than once, but it will be in MY handwriting.

Your entry must be filled out all the way. Completely. If you don't have a phone number, make sure we have an alternate means of contacting you to tell you that you've won. It's important. If I can't reach the winner, I'll get all whiny and depressed.

You must be in grades 7-12 to participate. If you aren't, you're out of luck. Sorry.

All that being said, there is something you can do to increase your odds that I will permit. Several somethings. In fact, I encourage you to do these somethings:

If you leave a comment on THIS post right HERE and say, "Gee, Laura, I really want that book!" I will write your name and e-mail down on an entry form and pop it into the can. Just be sure to enter your E-MAIL while filling out the comment form! Otherwise I will be unable to notify you that you've won.

If you visit Twitter and say something like "@wabashteens, I must have Mockingjay!" use the hashtag #MockingjayGiveaway, and I will write your name down on an entry form and pop it in the can too. If you win, I will @ reply to you via Twitter telling you how you can pick up your book. Be prepared for this to happen. Watch for a reply on Twitter.

If you visit our page on Facebook and leave a comment on the "Mockingjay Giveaway!" announcement, I will write your name down on an entry form and pop it in the can AGAIN.

So really, you actually have FOUR chances to win.

I will draw a winner on OCTOBER 11 at 5:00 P.M.. Be sure you've entered before that time!

I'll notify you the following day and tell you what you need to do to pick up your prize (which is to say, you'll need to walk in, tell the librarian your name, and the librarian will hand you the book. Easy, right?).

If you have not yet read any of the previous books of The Hunger Games trilogy, I strongly urge you to go read them now. There is a reason I loved them so much that I have not one, but two Hunger Games t-shirts.

For those of you who've already finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy, might I make a few suggestions? First, read Suzanne Collins' other books--like the Gregory the Overlander series. Then try The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, Maze Runner by James Dashner, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, or How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff if you're looking for more books set in dystopian societies, or read Graceling by Kristin Cashore or any of Tamora Pierce's books if you're looking for a strong female protagonist. That list could go on forever. If you've read all those and still want more ideas, you can ask me on Twitter (@wabashteens), ask me here, or even ask me on Facebook on the Wabash Carnegie Public Library page. And you can certainly feel free to come visit me in person!

*Until December, when I read through all seven books in seven days. Watch for updates...

**Really. Look it up on YouTube if you don't believe me.

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