Why is this book popular? It is so ordinary. It is so not special or particularly captivating in any way. It was actually less violent than I thought -- the worst thing for me was the mention of a previous year in which contestants had to bludgeon each other to death with spiked maces; that was some unsettling imagery -- but the boredom almost made it worse. I'm not even angry at the plot of the book itself* so much as just, why is everyone wasting their money on this and proclaiming it one of the best YA novels of the year/all time?? It is so far away from being worthy of critical or popular acclaim that truly, teaching Catcher in the Rye makes more sense to me.
(*well, I am, or at least the author; I'm kinda feeling about her the way people feel about Stephenie Meyer unleashing her work upon the world, except I have never actually been able to churn up legitimate contempt for Twilight in my heart)
The whole reading experience was just a long slog of, "Is it over yet? Is it over now? Will it be over soon? Oh my God, this is some pointless storytelling right here." What probably didn't help was me hating Katniss/Peeta. Going in, I was pretty neutral but assumed I would like that pairing best, since I thought they were canon. But SORRY, I just wanted her to go home and find Gale, not be manipulated into gross romance with this dude. Whom I keep thinking of, for some reason, as lumpy, lumbering, pathetic, and kind of a milksop? I read a similar description of him beforehand, but I honestly thought, naw, clearly this person is just cynical, he will totally turn out to be the kind of sweet character I inevitably adore! Wrong. Total wimp. You would think the whole lovelorn angle, at least, would improve my mood, but I just kept thinking his lifelong obsession with her was weird and not particularly flattering.
(Again, weirdly, in a way I do not feel about Edward Cullen -- at least in theory, not having yet read Twilight).
You would also think the whole NEARLY FATAL, SEVERAL TIMES OVER injury & wound nursing would get to me, if nothing else. Not even a flicker. Surely there is no clearer proof of its mediocrity.
And just. Overall. There was basically nothing here that correlated with my interests. Gale and Rue were the most interesting people in it. Unsurprisingly, I feel no pull at all to read the other books.
[Edit: Oh, hell, is Kat/Gale canon later? NO. I AM NOT READING ENTIRE (GODAWFUL) BOOKS FOR PATHETIC SCRAPS OF MAYBE-ROMANCE. And...wtf, (just cheated and looked up triangle resolution for the end of Mockingjay; it's not like I have any spoiler fears!), that just sounds like the worst ending ever. Definitely not reading entire books for pathetic scraps of maybe-romance.]