I think I convinced three people in the store to read The Hunger Games when I went in to pick up my copy of Catching Fire, which had been sitting behind the counter with my name on it for a week, waiting for September 1. (I declared I would read Catching Fire twice before my family arrives for a week-long visit this weekend--because that's how much this story gets into your head.)
Like Amy at My Friend Amy, I'm not sure how to review this without spoilers, so I'm just going give my opinion, saying as little as possible about the plot.
Better than The Hunger Games? Maybe not--but it's every bit as good. My inner teen self thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I totally let her take over during this reading, just like I did with my first reading of The Hunger Games. (My adult self hasn't really read Catching Fire yet.)
I love Katniss's feistiness--at the end of one chapter, I laughed and laughed and declared her--out loud--"cheeky" for the stunt she'd just pulled, though "cheeky" was a really mild word for the occasion. You'll know which part when you get to it.
I wish Peeta had been a little more rounded out. Yes, we know he loves Katniss and that his life would be miserable for the remainder if she died or something, but I want to know about his home, his parents--how what he said about his father in The Hunger Games affected his parents' lives at home.
Likewise, I'd like to chime in on the whole Team Gale/Team Peeta thing, but I don't feel like I can form an opinion without knowing Gale better--which I really hope happens in the third book. I totally expected it in this one, and it doesn't happen. (That's not much of a spoiler, really. I promise.)
Also, I was surprised by a lot more of the plot twists in this book. Yes, a lot of it is still predictable, but there were things I really was not expecting. Argh. I want to talk about this with someone, but no one I know here is reading it. I guess I'll have to wait for The Literary League's online book club discussion.
So, how long do we have to wait for the third (and final?) installment?*
*It should be noted that I do feel that the third book may be treading some dangerous ground; I'm not sure whether I'm going to like the end of this trilogy--though my not liking it would not necessarily indicate a bad ending.