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The Hunger Games takes place in a nation known as Panem, in the ruins of North America after the destruction of the continent's civilization by an unknown war event. The nation consists of the rich Capitol and twelve surrounding, poorer districts united under the Capitol's control.
District 12, where the book begins, is located in the coal-rich region that was formerly known as Appalachia. As punishment for a past rebellion against the Capitol, in which a 13th district was destroyed, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected by an annual “luck of the draw” to participate in the Hunger Games, an event in which the participants (or "tributes") must fight to the death in an outdoor arena controlled by the Capitol, until only one individual remains.
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The story is in the point of view of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12 who volunteers for the 74th annual Hunger Games in place of her younger sister, Primrose Everdeen, and the male tribute chosen from District 12 is Peeta Mellark, who secretly likes Katniss.

Katniss and Peeta both survive, but defy the rules of the game and are allowed to live, for now. They come back greeted as heros in the citizens’ eyes, but Haymitch, their mentor for the games, warns them about their actions, because he did the same thing.

 

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