The Hunger Games is a trilogy of novels (or just the first of these) by Suzanne Collins, adapted to a tetralogy of films, set in a post-U.S. nation of Panem ruled by the Capitol. As punishment for a past rebellion, the indentured and impoverished Districts must each send one boy and one girl "tribute" from among their children to compete in the annual Hunger Games, a gladiatorial fight to the death with only one victor.

The Hunger Games is:

  • a 2008 novel by Suzanne Collins;
  • a trilogy in which this is the first book, the other two being Catching Fire and Mockingjay;
  • a 2012 movie based on the book, directed by Gary Ross;
  • a tetralogy of films of which this is the first, the other three being Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1, and Mockingjay Part 2.

The book's title derives from the Hunger Games, in which children fight to the death.

Plot summary

The Hunger Games centers around the character of Katniss Everdeen, who resides in District 12, an impoverished coal-mining region of the post-apocalyptic North American nation of Panem. Her father was an accomplished poacher, keeping the family fed with wild game and Katniss's mother, a nurse, supplied with herbs for medicines. He died in a coal mine explosion 5 years before the events of the book, and with her mother in a deep depression at his loss, Katniss took up her father's bow and arrows, and since then has fed her mother and younger sister Primrose by illegally going beyond the electric fence to hunt and gather.

The Districts, long ago, rebelled against the oppressive Capitol, the seat of Panem's government and home to the most wealthy and privileged of its people. As punishment, the 12 Districts remaining after the war are forced to register all children between 12 and 18 in a drawing; the older the child is, and the more the child has signed up for extra rations of grain for their family, the more times their name goes in. One boy and one girl are chosen from each District each year to compete in the Hunger Games, a gladiatorial melee where the rules are simple; the last one living wins. No one from District 12 has won in almost 25 years.

When Primrose, despite long odds, is chosen for the Games at just 12 years old, 18-year-old Katniss volunteers to take her place as District 12's female tribute, alongside Peeta Mellark, a baker's son and distant admirer of Katniss. The teens' brash and alcoholic mentor, Haymitch Abernathy, is the last living person from District 12 to win a Hunger Games, and despite his skepticism about their chances he agrees, after seeing their determination, to do everything he can to help them.

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