Part 1: The Tributes
In the first third of the book, we are introduced to our protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. Though she's only a teenager, she's a tough hunter who puts food on her family's table. Her father is dead and she lives with her mother and sister Prim in District 12 in the country of Panem. She hunts with a guy named Gale who is cute and might even have a thing for her, but who knows? Katniss is not very in touch with her mushy side.
Every year the Capitol of Panem hosts an event called the Hunger Games where two "tributes" – a boy and a girl – are drafted from each of the twelve districts to be brought to an arena and fight to the death. (BTW, back in the day the word "tribute" referred to a payment to a ruler.) Only one person can win. This is to remind the country not to rebel – and for entertainment, of course. This year, unfortunately, Katniss's little sister is selected for the Hunger Games, so Katniss volunteers to take her place. Also selected is Peeta Mellark, the baker's son, who maybe has a teensy tiny crush on Katniss. Maybe.
After the reaping (that's the tribute selection process), Katniss and Peeta are whisked away to the Capitol to prepare for the Games (and primped for live TV). We meet their support team, which is primarily comprised of Haymitch (a former Hunger Games winner and also a drunk), Effie (their wrangler), and Cinna and Portia (their stylists).
During the opening ceremonies, Cinna and Portia dress Katniss and Peeta in flames and they draw much attention to themselves. During training, Katniss reveals her archery skills to the Gamemakers and scores an amazing 11 out of 12. Peeta gets a lower score and asks to be coached separately. Peeta also announces in an interview that he has a mega crush on Katniss. Is this all just a strategy to gain audience support and sponsors? Katniss thinks so, but it works well for her too, so she plays along.
Part 2: The Games
At last: Let the Games begin!
All 24 of the...