The Hunger Games is a young-adult science fiction novel written by Suzanne Collins. It was originally published on September 14, 2008, by Scholastic. It is the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy. It introduces sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem where North America once existed. This is where a powerful government working in a central city called the Capitol holds power. In the book, the Hunger Games are an annual televised event where the Capitol chooses one boy and one girl from each district to fight to the death. The Hunger Games exist to demonstrate that not even children are beyond the reach of the Capitol's jurisdiction.
Collins says that the idea for The Hunger Games came from channel surfing on television. On one channel she observed people competing on a reality show and on another she saw footage of the Iraq War. The two blended together and the idea for the book was formed. The Greek myth of Theseus also served as inspiration for the book, with Collins describing Katniss as a futuristic Theseus. Collins' father's service in the Vietnam War helped her understand how it feels to fear the loss of a loved one.
The book has been released as a paperback and also an audiobook, which was read by Carolyn McCormick. The Hunger Games has an initial print of 200,000 increased twice from an original 50,000. Since its initial release, the novel has been translated into 26 different languages and rights have been sold in 38 countries. The book received mostly positive reviews from major reviewers and authors, such as Stephen King. Hunger Games is the first novel in a trilogy, followed by Catching Fire, published September 1, 2009,and Mockingjay, published August 24, 2010.