-Mock­ing­jay, an­tic­i­pated by teens, on way.

And we mean early, 12:01 a.m., for tril­ogy fi­nale

USA TODAY US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Bob Minzesheim­er USA TO­DAY

If more than the usual num­ber of teens seem sleepy next Tues­day, blame (or credit) nov­el­ist Suzanne Collins.

Mock­ing­jay (Scholas­tic, $17.99), the last in Collins’ Hunger Games tril­ogy for teens, will be re­leased at 12:01 a.m. Tues­day, trig­ger­ing scores of mid­night par­ties at book­stores.

Not since Harry Pot­ter and Tw­light has a novel been ex­pected to keep so many young read­ers (and some adults) up all night. Collins’ cliffhang­ing se­ries ( The Hun

and Catch­ing Fire were the first two books), set in a fu­ture dic­ta­tor­ship that forces teenagers to fight to the death on TV, is the most pop­u­lar ex­am­ple of a boom in dystopian nov­els, in which teens strug­gle to sur­vive in night­mar­ish worlds.

Collins’ pop­u­lar­ity “is huge,” says Shari Con­rad­son, a teacher in Se­bastopol, Calif. She’s of­ten asked by stu­dents for “other books like The Hunger Games.”

Among her r ec­om­men­da­tions: James Dash­ner’s Maze Run­ner se­ries, in which teens are stripped of mem­o­ries, and Scott Wester­feld’s Uglies se­ries, in which all teens have surgery to meet a uni­ver­sal stan­dard of beauty. What’s the ap­peal? Teens “rec­og­nize the is­sues in these books with­out hav­ing to face them dead-on,” Con­rad­son says. “In many of them, teen char­ac­ters are the he­roes and make the world a bet­ter place.”

Kay­ley Hyde, 18, of Ed­monds, Wash., who won a Hunger Games es­say con­test last year and lunch with Collins, says she loves “read­ing about what peo­ple think our coun­try or our world could be­come.”

Collins, who’ll at­tend her first mid­night re­lease party at New York’s Books of Won­der, hopes to keep Mock­ing­jay’s plot a se­cret un­til Tues­day.

She hopes kids where school has started won’t stay home to read her book: “At the risk of sound­ing un­grate­ful, please go to school. So many kids in the world never get a chance to. That be­ing said, if you wanted to stay up late read­ing, I wouldn’t be the one tak­ing the flash­light away from you.”

Collins: Don’t let the book in­ter­fere with school, the author urges her teen fans. ger Games

By Todd Plitt, USA TO­DAY

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