In the not too distant future, the United States has nearly destroyed itself with war, famine, and drought. What remains is a new country called Panem. It is divided into 12 districts, all of which are kept under strict control by the Capitol. The people in the districts are kept poor, hungry and obedient.
Once a year, districts are given a chance to earn some more food for its citizens, as well as some prestige. Each district holds a mandatory lottery where the names of two kids between the ages of 10 and 16 are selected from all the children of age. One boy and one girl are selected to compete in the Hunger Games. The yearly contest is supposed to be an entertaining contest of skill and strength. But it is much worse than that. It is a fight to the death where only one contestant out of the 24 makes it out alive. Everyone in the districts is required to watch the games on television.
Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen is chosen from District 12. She is a skilled hunter who supports her mother and younger sister by hunting illegally in the woods. The boy, Peeta, is her age as well. In our time, they might have been friends, maybe even more. But in the Hunger Games, there are no friends, only survivors.