The Hunger Games introduces us to the post-apocalyptic dystopia that is Panem. Controlled by the Capitol, the twelve surrounding districts are separated into classes and pitted against each other in an annual fight-to-the-death tournament where two children from each region have to participate. Told through the eyes of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games follows the story of the 74th Annual Hunger Games, where Katniss learns there is more to the Hunger Games than what meets the eye.
The book begins on the day of the reaping: the day when the tributes from each district are chosen via lottery at a formal ceremony. When the speeches are done, and the tributes are called, Katniss is terrified to hear her sister’s name and immediately steps up to take her place. The male tribute, they all learn, is Peeta Mellark, Katniss’ schoolmate when she was younger who had given her bread on a day she thought she could’ve died from hunger. The rest of the book then follows the story of Katniss and Peeta Mellark – the tributes from District 12 – in their attempt at survival against all other tributes.
It is in the Arena that Katniss finds that the Hunger Games is merely a game – entertainment value to the people of the Capitol and the only way to survive is to manipulate her way through it. Faking feelings for her co-tribute, Peeta – who admitted in an interview that he had had feelings for Katniss since they were kids – Katniss wins over the Capitol by making them believe that she and Peeta are “star-crossed lovers.”
Over the course of the tournament, the Capitol falls in love with their tandem and are ultimately moved by Katniss’ and Peeta’s Romeo and Juliet act as they hold hands and decide to take their lives as an act of true love. The Gamemaker is enraged and sees this as an act of rebellion, but the Capitol’s excitement cannot be contained.
The book ends with Katniss caught in the dilemma of returning to her old, hunter life with Gale or staying in the fake relationship with Peeta for the Capitol, who is now going to be watching her every move.
This controversial book by Suzanna Collins is the first of the critically acclaimed trilogy and is now available on all digital mediums, just click here for the audiobooks.