When readers of the bestselling fantasy novel The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins reach the last page, many of them will be eager to know, “But what happens next??” Unfortunately, we can’t tell you yet, but we can show you, for the very first time anywhere, the cover for the sequel, Catching Fire. Scholastic is publishing the book on September 1 with a 250,000-copy first printing (Scholastic Audio Books will release a simultaneous audio edition).
The Hunger Games came out last September, after much pre-pub buzz; it has 225,000 copies in print, with 26 foreign editions to date. Collins is currently at work writing the third and final volume in the trilogy, tentatively scheduled for 2010.
David Levithan, executive editorial director at Scholastic, says that the manuscript for Catching Fire is available in-house on a “need to read” basis only. “It’s the most secrecy I’ve had about any project I’ve ever worked on.” Why such secrecy? Levithan says it’s not a ploy for attention—they really don’t want the book’s plot to become public. “We want as many readers as possible to find out what happens in the book itself,” he explains. “We don’t want a Midnight Sun to happen [an early draft of Stephenie Meyer’s companion novel to Twilight was posted on the Internet last summer, causing the book to be postponed indefinitely]. It’s pretty remarkable what [Collins] has done and where she’s going. There are lots of twists and turns, and part of the fun is the surprise of it.”
Fans in the book industry can have their first chance to find out those surprises at the end of May—Scholastic will be giving out ARCs of Catching Fire at BEA in New York City.
See our article "Counting Down to Catching Fire" for updated news on the sequel.