The Hunger Games is a first person 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 the United States once existed. This is where a 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 aged 12 to 18 from each of 12 districts for a massive televised battle in which only one person can survive.
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 – twice doubled from the 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.