The Hunger Games by bestselling author of The Underland Chronicles, Suzanne Collins.

The story takes place in an unidentified future time period after the destruction of North America, in a nation known as Panem. Panem consists of a rich Capitol and twelve surrounding, poorer districts. As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol, every year one boy and one girl from each district is forced to participate in "The Hunger Games", a televised event whereby the participants, or "tributes", must fight to the death in an outdoor arena until only one remains. The story follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12 who volunteers for the Games in place of her younger sister, Primrose. Also participating from District 12 is Peeta Mellark, a boy whom Katniss knows from school and who once gave Katniss bread when her family was starving.

Katniss and Peeta are taken to the Capitol, where they meet the other tributes and are publicly displayed to the Capitol audience. During this time, Peeta reveals on-air his long-time unrequited love for Katniss. Katniss believes this to be a plot to gain audience support for the Games, which can be crucial for survival, as audience members are permitted to send gifts to the tributes. The Games begin with 11 of the 24 tributes dying in the first hour, while Katniss relies on her well-practiced hunting and outdoors skills to survive. As the Games continue, the tribute death toll increases but both Katniss and Peeta are able to evade death.

Supposedly due to Katniss and Peeta's beloved image to the audience as "star-crossed lovers", a rule change is announced midway through the Games, stating that two tributes from the same district can win the Hunger Games as a pair. Upon hearing this, Katniss searches for Peeta, and finds him mortally wounded. She nurses him back to health, and acts the part of a young girl falling in love to gain more favor with the audience. The couple manages to outlast all the other tributes, and the gamemakers try to force them into a dramatic finale where one must kill the other to win. Instead, they both threaten suicide, and are subsequently both declared winners. After returning to the Capitol, Katniss must deal with the aftermath of defying the Capitol publicly, and sorting out her true feelings for Peeta, who she discovers truly does love her.

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