The Hunger Games: Author & Series

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby

Kaitlin has a BA in political science and extensive experience working in the business world as Director of Marketing and Business Development at a financial advice firm.

It would be hard to imagine young adult fiction of the last decade without thinking of the Hunger Games series. This lesson gives an in-depth look at Suzanne Collins, the author of the Hunger Games trilogy, as well as the best-selling series.

A New Literary Sensation

For a time on the internet and in book stores, it was difficult not to be aware of Hunger Games fans debating the merits of 'Team Peeta or Team Gale.' Not since the Harry Potter and Twilight books had a series of young adult books so captivated readers.

The Hunger Games series was not written as blind entertainment. Author Suzanne Collins managed to implant a message alongside the story of loyalty and sacrifice in the books. In this lesson, we'll learn more about Suzanne Collins and look at each of the three books in The Hunger Games series.

Who Is Suzanne Collins?

By the time she wrote The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins was no stranger to children's entertainment. She had already worked on several television shows for Nickelodeon and written a successful series of novels known as The Underland Chronicles. However, it was with The Hunger Games that she became a household name.

Growing up as a child of a military man, Collins had seen much of the country, and much poverty as well. Most of all, she acutely understood the effects of war. Both of her book series incorporate war themes. The Hunger Games trilogy also incorporated themes like poverty and starvation.

Suzanne Collins, the author of the Hunger Games series
Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games

The trilogy starts in the small town of District 12, a part of the greater country of Panem that has replaced the United States. District 12 is a coal mining area in Appalachia, and the people there are incredibly poor. In fact, some people have to illegally hunt and gather their own rations. In particular, the protagonist Katniss Everdeen and her best friend Gale become skilled with a bow and arrow. As if the daily struggle for food weren't enough, the capital of Panem requires that each district send a teenage boy and a teenage girl to take part in the Hunger Games, a fight to the death for the entertainment of millions.

Katniss is just a girl trying to survive in this world when her little sister's name is called to be tribute to the Hunger Games. She immediately volunteers to take her sister's place, being offered alongside the boy in her district, Peeta. Ultimately, she and Peeta both survive the Hunger Games by showing the audience a couple in love. However, while Katniss fakes the love for ratings, Peeta is truly in love with her.

Catching Fire

The second book of the series, Catching Fire, finds Katniss and Peeta as winners of the Hunger Games but back in District 12. As a result of this stunt, the popularity of Katniss and Peeta is a danger to the stability of Panem. Panem tries to co-opt her popularity, but it becomes clear that the masses and Katniss can see through their plotting. For the next year's Hunger Games, only past winners are eligible. Again Katniss and Peeta are thrown into the arena. However, it turns out that it's not as it seems. While others assemble a team designed to win the struggle in the arena, a group forms around Katniss to keep her alive until they can all be freed from the arena. As the book ends, we learn that there is a conspiracy against Panem, and completely without her knowledge, Katniss has become the spiritual leader of that cause and must be kept alive.

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