I've thought long and hard about this book since I finished it a week ago. I have pretty strict criteria for what constitutes a five-star read, and being able to read the book over and over again is one of them. This book does not meet that criteria. I don't think I ever want to read it again. It was that emotionally challenging for me. However, the unforgettable quality of these books has to count for something, so I am giving this book four stars and the series as a whole five stars. It moved me deeply and had meaning that went far beyond the premise of the story, even if I didn't necessarily like it at times. This series sort of snuck up on me. It's young adult fiction after all, so how heavy could it be? The first book was bold and exciting, the second managed to shock me and leave me at the edge of a cliff with the dramatic ending, and this third... I don't know if poignant is the word. It was just as exciting and page-turning, it was a one-day read, but this is not a book where everyone gets a happy ending. Difficult choices are made and tragic events unfold. It left me emotionally exhausted, sad, disappointed and at the same time bittersweetly satisfied. I've been trying to pick up other books all week, especially since I was on a nine-hour road trip, but found I couldn't do it. It felt wrong to move on to another story after experiencing so much with these characters. I haven't read many books that had that effect on me. I'm not going to give any blatant spoilers, but I will say that I should have learned my lesson in Hunger Games and not allowed myself to get attached to ANY of the characters. They are basically gladiators in a cage and soldiers in a war, and people in those circumstances die. I wasn't prepared for a certain scene in this book and it *stunned* me with the ruthlessness of the author.I think her goal was for the readers to experience a significant loss so they could understand the magnitude of the horror of what Katniss went through. War is vicious. It is cold. It is not a respecter of persons. And people who do not deserve to die, who have so much to live for, sometimes die. And although I understood that that was her point, it left me really angry and heartbroken and with a bad taste in my mouth for this book. In closing, if you have read the first two books you definitely do not want to miss Mockingjay. It was a well-done wrap for a trilogy that I won't soon forget. It's absolutely in my top five for 2010. But be forewarned: this is not a light read and you will not come out the other side unscathed. This book was HEAVY.