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The Hunger Games is a 2008 science fiction novel by the American writer Suzanne Collins. It is written in the voice of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen (the protagonist), who lives in the dystopian (undesirable), post-apocalyptic (after the end of human civilization) nation of Panem in North America. The Capitol, a highly advanced metropolis, exercises political control over the rest of the nation. The Hunger Games are an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12–18 from each of the twelve districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death.
In writing The Hunger Games, Collins drew upon Greek mythology (Theseus), Roman gladiatorial games, and contemporary reality television. The novel won many awards, including the California Young Reader Medal, and was named one of Publishers Weekly's "Best Books of the Year" in 2008.
The Hunger Games was first published in hardcover on September 14, 2008 by Scholastic. It has since been released in paperback and also as an audiobook and ebook. After an initial print of 200,000, the book had sold 800,000 copies by February 2010. Since its release, The Hunger Games has been translated into 26 languages, and publishing rights have been sold in 38 territories. The novel is the first in The Hunger Games trilogy, followed by Catching Fire (2009) and Mockingjay (2010). A film adaptation was released in 2012.
The Hunger Games has received critical acclaim. A review in The New York Times stated that the novel was "brilliantly plotted and perfectly paced", and that "the considerable strength of the novel comes in Collins's convincingly detailed world-building and her memorably complex and fascinating heroine." Time magazine's review was also positive, stating that it "is a chilling, bloody and thoroughly horrifying book" and praising what it called the "hypnotic" quality of the violence.
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