header logo
The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games Summary


Here you will find a The Hunger Games summary (Suzanne Collins's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.

P.S.: As an Amazon Associate, we earn money from purchases made through links in this page. But the summaries are totally free!

Last Updated: Monday 1 Jan, 2024

The Hunger Games Summary Overview

On the day of the drafting, where competitors are selected to participate in a lethal contest, teenager Katniss Everdeen awakens with her mother and younger sister, Prim, nearby. Her father had perished years prior in a mining accident. She spends her morning hunting in the surrounding forest with her best friend, Gale. That evening, during the drafting ceremony, the mayor recounts the story of how the existing governments of North America crumbled, paving the way for the rise of Panem. Following a brutal war between the Capitol and the districts, the Capitol emerged victorious. As a cruel reminder of their power, the Capitol hosts a deadly competition each year. The mayor then introduces the drunken Haymitch Abernathy, the sole survivor from their district who won the competition in the past. Shockingly, Prim is chosen as the female competitor, but Katniss immediately offers herself as a substitute. The male competitor chosen is Peeta Mellark, who Katniss remembers as the boy who once gave her bread from his family's bakery when she was starving. After bidding farewell to their loved ones, Katniss and Peeta depart for the Capitol, persuading their mentor Haymitch, a former winner responsible for procuring gifts from sponsors, to take his duties seriously. Once there, they meet their stylist, Cinna, and stun the audience at the opening ceremony with their fiery black outfits. Following group training and an interview where Peeta confesses his long-time crush on Katniss, they are thrust into the competition. Katniss spends her first day hiding and avoiding confrontation, as advised by Haymitch. When she discovers Peeta has aligned himself with a dangerous group of competitors, she is shocked and confused. With the aid of a new ally, Rue, she manages to destroy the group's supplies, which leads to Rue's death. A rule change allows two competitors from the same district to be declared winners, which brightens Katniss's spirits as she finds a severely injured Peeta and nurses him back to health. As the competition heats up, they play up their romance for the audience and manage to outsmart the remaining competitors to be the last two standing. Just as they're about to be crowned winners, the rules change once again, stating there can only be one winner. Rather than kill each other, they decide to commit suicide by eating poisonous berries. This forces the game makers to proclaim them both winners. After the competition, they return to their district. However, Katniss's defiance of the Capitol puts her in danger and she must convince everyone that her actions were driven by love and desperation rather than rebellion.

chapter 1

Katniss Everdeen rouses herself from sleep, faced with the grim reality of reaping day. Her little sister Prim and their mother are sleeping as she dresses to go hunting. They live in an area referred to as the Seam in District 12, situated at the district's periphery. Despite the prohibitions, Katniss often ventures under their district's enclosing fence into the wilderness, to hunt and gather. These skills were handed down by her late father, who died in a mine explosion. In the woods, Katniss meets Gale, her confidant. They contemplate escaping, but their families rely on them. After catching some fish, they trade at the district's black market, the Hob, for bread and salt. They sell strawberries at the mayor's house and chitchat with his daughter, Madge. Gale voices his discontent about the unjust reaping process. The reaping system is biased against the impoverished, as their names are entered more times into the draw due to their need for tesserae, grain and oil provisions. At sixteen, Katniss's name will be in the draw twenty times, and Gale's, at eighteen, forty-two times. Prim, at twelve and without the need for tesserae, has her name in only once. After preparing herself, Katniss heads to the town square with her mother and Prim for the televised reaping ceremony. The mayor recounts the history of the Hunger Games, a grim reminder of the districts' failed rebellion against the Capitol of Panem, the successor of the fallen North America. The Hunger Games, where a boy and girl from each district are forced to fight to the death, serve as a haunting reminder of the Capitol's absolute control. The surviving tribute's district is rewarded with additional food. Haymitch Abernathy, District 12's only living victor, makes a public spectacle of himself. Finally, Effie Trinket, the district's tribute escort, announces the first tribute: Primrose Everdeen.

chapter 2

In a fit of fear, Katniss volunteers as tribute, breaking the norm in District 12. She and Prim share an emotional hug, but Gale forcibly separates them. Katniss suppresses her emotions to avoid appearing weak. The crowd pays silent respect to Katniss instead of clapping as Effie Trinket requested. Haymitch, while delivering his congratulations, clumsily tumbles off the stage. Peeta Mellark is the selected boy tribute. This reminds Katniss of a time when she interacted with Peeta, not long after her dad's death and during her mother's consequent depression. During this time, Katniss and her family were starving, a common occurrence in District 12. She remembers scavenging in the wealthier part of town, where Peeta's mother yelled at her from the bakery. Peeta, who was in school with Katniss, went back inside after his mother. He reappeared with two burnt loaves of bread, despite his mother's orders to feed them to pigs and the visible bruise on his cheek from her wrath. He tossed the bread to Katniss, who then took it to feed her family. This act of kindness filled her with hope and made her question whether Peeta burned the loaves intentionally to assist her. Katniss later aligned the sight of Peeta with the first dandelion of spring, a reminder of her father's teachings about edible plants. This connection triggers her resolve to use her father's teachings to keep her family alive, forever associating Peeta with this vital realization.

chapter 3

Katniss finds herself alone in the Justice Building before her mother and sister are ushered in for a farewell. She insists her mother avoid past mistakes and assures them of her love as they exit. Peter Mellark’s dad, a local baker who Katniss exchanges squirrels for bread with, arrives next. He hands Katniss a pack of cookies and assures her of Prim's wellbeing. Then, Madge steps in, gifting Katniss a pin featuring a golden bird and requests her to sport it in the arena. Her final visitor is Gale, who advises her to find a bow and reassures her that her family won't go hungry. The journey to the Capitol commences as Katniss and Peeta move to a train station and board a train. Katniss mentions that their home, District 12, belongs to the former Appalachia region, still functioning as a coal mining sector. She identifies the Capitol as the old Rockies. Recognizing Madge's pin as a mockingjay, a bird used by the Capitol for spying on district rebels, she is reminded of its history. The rebels, once they discovered the bird's ability to replicate entire talks, fed the Capitol with fake intelligence. Although the Capitol ceased mockingjay breeding, they endured, making their emblem a subtle act of defiance. Aboard the train, Katniss and Peeta share a meal with Effie Trinket and watch recaps of the district reapings. However, when they laugh about Haymitch’s alcoholism, Effie reprimands them, reminding that Haymitch is their advisor and sponsor finder. Haymitch makes an appearance at that moment, inebriated, vomits and collapses.

chapter 4

Peeta helps clean up a drunken Haymitch, leading Katniss to question his kindness. She fears that a kind Peeta may be more perilous to her than an unkind one, and decides to keep her distance. Katniss tosses out the cookies Peeta's father gave her, triggering memories of foraging for dandelions with Prim. She recalls her first solo hunting trip, and how she traded what her family didn't consume at the Hob. After discovering edible roots of a plant bearing her name - katniss, she and her family had a full meal for the first time in ages. Her mother started recovering, but Katniss could never forgive her for her earlier weakness. Thinking about her family, Katniss drifts off to sleep. The next morning, Katniss finds Haymitch drinking again and Peeta reprimanding him in the dining car. An altercation ensues, resulting in Katniss demonstrating her knife-throwing skills to Haymitch. Agreeing to help them, Haymitch gives his first advice - they must not resist the stylists. Their train reaches the Capitol, where they are awestruck by its peculiarity and grandeur. Noticing Peeta waving at the crowd, Katniss perceives he might be strategizing for the Games, making him a potential threat to her.

chapter 5

At the Capitol, Katniss undergoes a body waxing session to ready her for her designer, Cinna. Cinna's demeanor is humble and calm. This is his debut as a Hunger Games stylist and he specifically asked to work with the District 12 tributes. The tradition is for the tributes' outfits to represent their home district. As District 12 is known for coal mining, Cinna decides that Katniss and Peeta’s costumes should symbolize coal's primary use - to ignite. Thus, Katniss's outfit is accentuated with artificial flames, earning her the nickname “the girl who was on fire.” Wearing matching outfits - a rarity among tributes - Katniss and Peeta are led to the city's central square for their public appearance. As each district's tributes take their turn, Katniss and Peeta wait. Just before they are to appear, Cinna lights their costumes and instructs them to join hands. Their entry creates a sensation. The crowd is enamored by them and thanks to Cinna’s creativity, they become the unforgettable tributes of the evening.

chapter 6

At the Training Center, Effie Trinket speaks fervently about Katniss and Peeta. Katniss marvels at the opulence of her room, which is larger than her whole house and filled with modern conveniences, most notably in the shower and closet. During dinner, Katniss recognizes a server, a red-haired girl, from a painful memory. Effie reprimands her, insisting she can't possibly know an Avox, a criminal who has had their tongue removed. Katniss denies it, and Peeta defends her by stating the Avox girl reminds them of a schoolmate. They discuss their accomplishments at the ceremony before Haymitch advises them to rest for the training commencing tomorrow. Katniss and Peeta head to the roof, a private area encased by an electric field to prevent escapes. They converse in a garden where the wind and chimes will mask their speech. Katniss reveals a chilling memory: while hunting with Gale, they spotted a girl and a boy fleeing in fear. A hovercraft seized the girl with a net and killed the boy with a spear, whisking them both off. The girl made eye contact with Katniss before being taken, an image which haunts Katniss. As it gets colder, they head back inside. Peeta questions Katniss about her relationship with Gale and his farewell to her. Peeta also reveals his father's acquaintance with Katniss's mother. They part for the night, and back in her room, Katniss encounters the red-haired Avox. She gives her some clothes for Cinna, and as she drifts to sleep, she wonders if the girl will take pleasure in her death in the Games.

chapter 7

Training begins, lasting three days, culminating in a private performance for the Gamemakers. Haymitch, their mentor, inquires whether Katniss and Peeta want to prepare individually or in tandem, noting that one of them might be concealing a unique skill. Notwithstanding that Peeta is aware of Katniss's hunting prowess, they opt to practice together. Haymitch solicits details about their strengths. Katniss has archery skills while Peeta is sturdy and a skilled wrestler. Despite this, Peeta feels defeated and underappreciated, especially by his mother who admires Katniss more. He reminds Katniss how she survived due to his past aid, referring to the bread from years ago. Haymitch advises them to keep their strengths hidden until the private session and to always appear united. During practice, Katniss observes the other participants. Majority are larger than her, with many malnourished. The wealthier district tributes are healthier and some, known as Career Tributes, have been preparing their whole lives. The various training stations are staffed by instructors, with the Career Tributes gravitating towards the lethal arsenals. Katniss and Peeta learn knot tying before moving to the camouflage station. Over the three days, they explore more stations under the watchful eyes of the Gamemakers. During lunch, Peeta reveals the unique breads from each district. They also spot a young girl named Rue from District 11 observing them. Katniss, in her private session with the Gamemakers, struggles with a different bow than she's accustomed to. She attempts to impress them with challenging shots but they seem more interested in a roasted pig, causing Katniss to snap. She fires an arrow directly at the Gamemakers, hitting the apple in the pig's mouth, and storms off.

chapter 8

Once she departs, fear takes hold as she contemplates the potential repercussions of her rebellious act. The Gamemakers rank tributes between one and twelve, and she's convinced her score will be disappointingly low, jeopardizing her chances at attracting crucial sponsors. She confines herself to her room until Effie summons her for dinner. Everyone's curious about Peeta and Katniss's performances. Katniss shares her experience, leaving everyone but Haymitch, who seems amused, in shock. Ultimately, Peeta scores an eight and Katniss, surprisingly, an eleven. Haymitch suggests her fiery spirit might have appealed to the judges. The following morning, Katniss wakes up reflecting on her initial encounter with Gale. She was hunting in the forest when she stumbled upon several snares with rabbits. Gale appeared as she examined them. She had noticed him before; they had shared grief at the same memorial after their fathers died in a mining explosion. Their acquaintance grew from talks about hunting to a deep partnership. These memories of Gale's companionship make her miss him and she realizes that what she fakes with Peeta, she genuinely shares with Gale. She is summoned to breakfast by Effie where Haymitch announces a strategy shift — Peeta has requested individual coaching.

chapter 9

Katniss grapples with relief and feelings of betrayal from Peeta, while also dealing with the upcoming televised interview. She's coached by Effie on her appearance, including wearing high heels and maintaining a warm smile. The objective is to make her likable to the audience. Haymitch also gives Katniss tips for the interview, emphasizing the importance of sponsors, but her hostile demeanor frustrates him. Later, in her room, Katniss's anger leads to a dish-breaking incident. The Avox woman cleans her up, and they share a silent moment of understanding. Katniss then cleans the room and goes to bed. In the morning, Cinna dresses Katniss in a jewel-encrusted dress and encourages her to be herself during the interview. As the interviews start, each tribute is given three minutes of screen time. Katniss's performance is charming and captivates the audience. She then watches as Peeta takes the stage. Caesar's questioning reveals that Peeta has a long-term crush on a girl who came to the Games with him, but winning won't help him with her.

chapter 10

Peeta's love confession for Katniss stirs up the crowd. Afterward, Katniss angrily confronts Peeta, causing him to fall and cut his hands on an urn. She is upset that he revealed her feelings publicly. When Effie and Haymitch show up, Haymitch explains that Peeta's declaration made her more appealing and increased her chances of attracting sponsors. This was something Katniss could not have done by herself. They chose not to inform her beforehand to ensure her reaction was genuine. Accepting the logic, Katniss apologizes to Peeta. Katniss and Peeta bid farewell to Haymitch and Effie as they prepare to enter the arena the following day. Haymitch advises them to retreat as soon as the Games start, as they are not ready for the initial chaos at the Cornucopia. That night, Katniss stumbles upon Peeta on the rooftop. He expresses his desire to die retaining his identity rather than becoming a monster and wishes he could show the Capitol that they do not own him. The next morning, Katniss, marked with a tracker, sets off for the arena with Cinna. After donning the standard tribute attire, Cinna pins the gold mockingjay on her. Reminding her to find water and run away as per Haymitch's advice, Cinna wishes good luck to the "girl on fire". Subsequently, she is elevated into the arena, marking the commencement of the seventy-fourth Hunger Games.

chapter 11

Katniss, restrained for sixty seconds, examines her surroundings. Near her lies a small tarp. She eyes a bow and arrows in the Cornucopia, a giant cornucopia-shaped structure, and debates reaching for it. However, Haymitch's advice to find water rings in her mind. As she decides to flee, she catches Peeta's eye. He signals her not to go for the weapons. The gong resonates, and due to Peeta's distraction, she misses her chance to grab the bow. She snatches the tarp and aims for an orange backpack deeper into the field, arriving simultaneously with another boy. As they wrestle for it, a knife lands in the boy's back, and he crumbles. Escaping into the woods with the backpack, another knife gets embedded in it. She steals a glance back to see tributes battling and some dead bodies on the ground. She continues deeper into the woods, searching for water. The Games mark a tribute's death with a cannon shot. Once the brawl concludes, Katniss counts eleven shots, indicating thirteen survivors. At night, the Capitol projects the deceased tributes' images in the sky. Katniss then rummages through her backpack, finding a sleeping bag, food, iodine for water purification, an empty bottle, and a few other items. She needs water and fears that the lake by the Cornucopia might be the only source, which could be defended by Career Tributes. Darkness falls, and Katniss makes her sleeping arrangements in a tree, tying herself to a branch with her belt. As the images of the deceased tributes are displayed in the sky, Katniss is relieved to see Peeta is not among them. Later, a fire is lit nearby. Tucked in her sleeping bag, Katniss hears people rushing towards the fire near dawn. A girl's pleas and screams indicate that a pack of tributes are on a hunt. The group stops near Katniss's tree, wondering why the cannon hasn't announced the girl's death. Career Tributes are among them, but one voice offering to confirm the girl's death stands out. It is Peeta's voice.

chapter 12

Katniss is startled to find Peeta in league with the Careers, noticing his severe bruises, hinting at a fight at the Cornucopia. Peeta hasn't revealed her archery prowess to the others, a fact she realizes when they question her high training score. After a cannon blast, the Careers depart and Katniss moves again, checking her snares. She finds and cooks a rabbit, consuming it as she marches in the opposite direction of the Careers. As her journey continues, she battles exhaustion and dehydration. Waking with a severe headache and aching joints, she persists in her quest for water. Frustrated, she blames Haymitch for withholding water from her sponsor, then considers he might have a reason. She collapses, on the brink of giving up, until she discovers she's in mud. Fighting through plants, she locates a pond, where she sleeps after rehydrating. However, she's abruptly awoken by an approaching fire.

chapter 13

Katniss escapes a massive fire, realizing it was the Gamemakers' doing to entertain the audience. The smoke makes her vomit and she narrowly avoids a fire explosion. Despite getting burned by a fireball, she manages to extinguish it. However, her hands and calf are badly injured. After the danger passes, she locates a small pool for her burns. Despite needing to move, the pain is unbearable so she rests for the day. Suddenly, she hears approaching footsteps and hurriedly climbs a tree. It's Peeta and the five Careers. Katniss taunts them from her high position, aware they can't reach her. She recognizes Glimmer, who possesses the bow and arrows from the Cornucopia. Cato, a formidable boy, tries to climb but fails. Glimmer attempts next, fires an arrow at Katniss but misses. The group decides to wait her out. Trapped, Katniss makes herself comfortable in the tree. As darkness descends, she spots Rue, the District 11 girl tribute, in a nearby tree, realizing she was there all along. Rue gestures towards something above Katniss’s head.

chapter 14

Katniss discovers that Rue is indicating a wasp's nest above, which she identifies as a potential tracker jacker hive. These dangerous insects, engineered by the Capitol during the rebellion, will pursue and attack anything that disturbs them. Katniss formulates a plan to dislodge the nest onto the competing tributes beneath. She decides to act during the anthem, a period where the day's fallen tributes are honored, as it would prevent the wasps from being drawn to her. However, even though she attempts to cut the branch holding the nest during the anthem, she's unable to complete the task before the anthem finishes. She postpones the rest of her plan until morning. Upon returning to her sleeping bag, she finds a burn cream gifted by her sponsors via Haymitch, which effectively soothes her injuries. She falls asleep feeling relieved. When she wakes up, her ailments have significantly healed. She signals Rue about her plan to dislodge the nest, then hears Rue retreating. Despite getting stung multiple times, Katniss successfully cuts the branch, causing the nest to plummet and the nearby tributes to be attacked. Most flee towards the lake, but Glimmer succumbs to the stings and dies, while another girl struggles to escape. Katniss heads back to the pool to submerge her stung parts in water. Then, she recalls Glimmer's bow and goes back to retrieve it. As she struggles to free the arrows from the quiver, she hears someone approaching. Thinking it's an attacker, she lifts the bow to defend herself, but it turns out to be Peeta, who urges her to flee just before Cato arrives. As she rushes away, venom-induced hallucinations overwhelm her until she falls unconscious in a hole.

chapter 15

Awakening after a day or two, Katniss recalls Peeta saving her life and ponders his motives. She remembers acquiring a bow and arrows, providing her with newfound hope in the Games. She finds a stream within an hour where she freshens up, takes some rest, and hunts. She hears a noise while cooking her game and discovers Rue. Offering Rue food, she suggests they team up. Rue responds by treating Katniss's stings using a plant-based remedy. Rue shares that she originates from District 11, an agricultural region where the laborers are not permitted to retain their produce and face punishment if caught doing so. Together, Katniss and Rue review their gear. Rue informs Katniss that she misunderstood the purpose of an item, they are night-vision glasses, not sunglasses. She recounts a tragic incident in her district concerning a mentally disabled boy who was executed for stealing a pair. As night falls, they climb a tree to sleep, sharing a sleeping bag due to Rue's lack of warmth. Katniss shares her experience with Peeta, to which Rue reveals he is no longer affiliated with the Careers. She's been secretly observing the Careers' camp by the lake. While the Careers possess abundant supplies, Rue and Katniss's survival skills do not provide them an upper hand in the forest. Considering this, Katniss speculates that the Careers wouldn't survive if their supplies disappeared and begins to strategize.

chapter 16

Katniss comes up with a plot to ruin the Careers' stash, leveraging their overindulgence against them, as Rue dozes off beside her. A cannon sound signals the death of another contestant. During their hunting expedition, Katniss extracts as much information as possible from Rue about the Career camp. She learns that the food is unguarded, overseen by a single boy, which seems dubious. Rue shares her life story - she is the eldest of six siblings and a lover of music. She communicates with the other workers by singing through mockingjays. By sunset, their strategy to destroy the Careers' resources is mapped out. Rue is assigned to light three separate fires to distract the Careers, while Katniss assaults the camp. Rue imparts her mockingjay song to Katniss, a signal for her safety. Katniss sneaks into the Careers' camp, observing from a hidden spot. She spots four contestants, including Cato and a District 3 boy. Noticing the pyramid of supplies kept away from the camp, she suspects a booby trap. Upon sighting Rue's diversion fires, the Careers prepare to leave, leaving behind the District 3 boy. They don't worry about Peeta as they believe he's too injured to pose a threat. After they depart, Katniss waits before taking action. She observes a girl she dubs Foxface expertly navigating towards the supplies, revealing the ground to be mined. She infers the District 3 boy, from a region known for manufacturing explosives, must have set the mines. Inspired after seeing Foxface, she spots a sack of apples in the pyramid. With three arrows, she rips the bag open, setting off the mines and causing an explosion that knocks her off her feet.

chapter 17

Katniss struggles to stand and has lost hearing in one ear following the explosion. Aware she's being watched, she quickly retreats to her hideout just as Cato and his group reappear. The destruction of their supplies angers Cato, leading him to kill the boy from District 3. Hidden, Katniss spends the day there and, still weak, opts to sleep in the same place when night falls. By morning, her hearing has returned to her right ear but the left remains deaf. She spots Foxface rummaging through the wreckage of the supply pile, but something scares her away from the camp. With no sign of Rue at their planned meeting spot, Katniss decides to wait after freshening up. When Rue still doesn't show up after a couple of hours, Katniss starts to search for her. The third campfire site she visits gives her a bad feeling; the wood was set up but not lit. A mockingjay's song, recognizable as Rue's, guides her and she follows it. Suddenly, a scream rends the air. Katniss races towards the sound, and finds Rue ensnared in a net and mortally wounded by the boy from District 1's spear.

chapter 18

Immediately, Katniss takes down the boy from District 1 with her arrow. She extricates Rue from the net and finds her too gravely injured. Rue implores Katniss to be the victor for both of them and requests a song. Reminded of Prim, Katniss sings a soft melody until Rue stops breathing. She retrieves valuable items from both Rue and the District 1 boy, her resentment towards the Capitol growing. Inspired by Peeta's words, she wants to honor Rue and prove she was not just a pawn. She covers Rue's body in flowers and performs the District 12 salute. She roams aimlessly for hours, hoping to encounter the Careers. As night falls and she's setting up her camp, she receives a loaf of bread from District 11 which moves her to express her gratitude. At dawn, Katniss musters the strength to rise, encouraged by the thought of Prim watching her. With food running low, she sets off to hunt, thinking of Rue and yearning to find the Careers, who she no longer fears. Throughout the day, she revisits the events leading to Rue's death and realizes that she intentionally killed the boy from District 1. She considers his grieving loved ones back home. Just then, trumpets blare signaling an announcement. She expects a feast, a common ploy to gather tributes for a battle. However, the announcement is about a change in rules. If the last two tributes are from the same district, they will both be declared winners. Realizing that both she and Peeta can live, Katniss immediately yells out his name.

chapter 19

Reflecting on Peeta's actions and expressions of affection, Katniss understands how they benefit both of them in the Games. She considers the remaining competitors, identifying Cato and his female district partner as key threats. The next day, she finds Peeta near a stream, cleverly concealed by mud. His cake icing skills have proven useful. Peeta's leg is severely injured and movement is tough. Katniss does her best to clean him up and tend to his wound. Since he's unable to walk, she assists him to a hidden cave. Peeta begins suggesting survival tactics for Katniss if he were to die, but she cuts him off, insisting he won't. She kisses him, remembering their supposed love. Exiting the cave, Katniss discovers a new gift from Haymitch - a pot of hot soup. She realizes that Haymitch is encouraging them to emphasize their romantic relationship.

chapter 20

Throughout the night, Katniss tends to Peeta, who is suffering from a fever due to his infected wound. Come morning, Peeta's playful romantic gestures fall flat as Katniss refuses to engage. Later, she observes that his infection is worsening. After she returns from gathering provisions, Peeta requests a story. Katniss shares the tale of how she got her sister Prim's beloved goat. To protect those involved in her illegal hunting activities, she fabricates a story about selling her mother's old silver locket. In truth, she and Gale had hunted a large buck and sold it. On Prim's birthday, Katniss bought a mauled goat, which was meant for the butcher, from an old disabled man at the market. The goat recuperated under the loving care of Prim and her mother, paying off more than its cost in return. Upon hearing this, Peeta pledges to repay Katniss someday. Unexpectedly, trumpets blare, and Claudius Templesmith announces a feast. Although indifferent at first, Katniss is intrigued when he states each participant will receive an item they urgently need. Before she can react, Peeta insists she won't risk herself for him, threatening to follow her if she goes. As Katniss washes up by the stream, pondering over Peeta's dire need for medicine, she receives a new gift from Haymitch – sleep syrup. She understands it will render Peeta unconscious for long enough for her to attend the feast. She disguises the syrup in mashed berries and feeds it to Peeta who, realizing too late what he’s consumed, falls asleep.

chapter 21

Katniss mulls over how the District 12 folks view the Games and if Gale harbors any romantic feelings for her, or hopes for Peeta's survival. To appeal to the audience, she kisses Peeta passionately and pretends to wipe a tear before departing. She reaches the Cornucopia where the feast is set, and at sunrise, a table surfaces with several backpacks, including a small one she assumes is hers. Foxface is quick to snatch her pack, causing Katniss to wish she'd acted faster. Rushing to grab her own, a knife grazes her forehead, causing blood to spill. Clove, the female competitor from District 2, knocks Katniss over and pins her down, threatening to kill her like they did Rue. However, as Clove injures Katniss's lip, Thresh from District 11 intervenes, questioning if Clove treated Rue similarly before killing her. He avenges Rue by crushing Clove's skull with a rock. Thresh then turns to Katniss, inquiring about her alliance with Rue. After she clarifies, he grants her mercy, stating they're now even. As Katniss runs away, she notices Thresh fleeing with two large packs and Cato kneeling beside Clove’s deceased body. She doesn't stop until she reaches the stream, feeling terrified and disoriented from her injury. Believing she's safe because Cato will chase Thresh, who stole his pack, she retreats to the cave, empties the pack to find a hypodermic needle, and injects its contents into Peeta's arm before losing consciousness.

chapter 22

Awakening from a lengthy slumber, Katniss finds a revived Peeta, who has organised their camp for the harsh rainfall. Her head injury makes her feel feeble. As she recounts the feast and Rue to Peeta, she likens Thresh sparing her life to the unpaid debt of bread Peeta once gave her. When she questions his motives, Peeta says she already knows. Discussing Cato and Thresh, Katniss breaks down, admitting her fatigue of the Games and her longing for home. During their final meal, Katniss queries Peeta about the far side of the arena, Thresh's hideout. Peeta describes a dense field of tall grass, which unnerves him due to its potential threats. Katniss compares Peeta's naive apprehension to Gale's questioning nature. After joking about knocking Peeta out, Katniss plays up their relationship to hopefully receive more supplies from Haymitch. However, as their lips meet in a mutual kiss, she realises her genuine affection for Peeta. As they huddle for warmth that night, Katniss feels a sense of safety she hasn't experienced since her father's death. The following day's weather confines them to their camp. Despite needing supplies, Haymitch has sent none, prompting Katniss to intensify her romantic facade with Peeta. When he reveals his long-time infatuation with her, Katniss is further confused, adding a layer of reality to their supposed pretense. As they lean in for another kiss, a food basket arrives from Haymitch.

chapter 23

Katniss and Peeta remain together, discussing their potential futures. Peeta highlights the change in status that winning the Hunger Games would bring, including new homes in Victor's Village and having Haymitch as their sole neighbour. They speculate how Haymitch won his own Games, believing he outsmarted his competitors. Upon seeing Thresh's image in the sky, indicating his death, Katniss is saddened as she held a soft spot for him due to his mercy and connection with Rue. Now, only they and Cato stand against Foxface. Peeta keeps Katniss nourished with bread, cheese, and apples, revealing that his family often eats stale leftovers despite owning a bakery. This surprises Katniss who assumed shopkeepers lived comfortably. On night watch, Katniss ponders the potential impact of victory on her identity as she would no longer need to provide for her family. Come morning, the two attempt to hunt, but Peeta's injury scares away any potential prey. Finally, they split to gather food separately. Katniss catches some game while Peeta collects roots and berries. When she returns, she finds Peeta missing and some of their food eaten. Panicked, she is relieved when Peeta returns from the stream but horrified to discover he'd collected nightlock berries. A cannon fires, signaling the death of Foxface who ate some of the berries. Peeta fears Cato's approach, but Katniss reveals he's unknowingly caused Foxface's death.

chapter 24

Katniss identifies the berries Foxface stole as deadly, inadvertently crediting Peeta for her demise. They opt to keep the remaining berries, perhaps to use against Cato. Believing Cato is aware of their location, they prepare their meal and retreat to their cave. The night passes without incident, but Katniss feels the next morning might be her last in the arena. She predicts the Gamemakers' intention to force a final confrontation. They discover all water sources, including the stream, have been dried up by the Gamemakers. For hydration, they must risk going to the Cornucopia's lake. They approach the lake warily, but find no trace of Cato. While waiting in the open, Katniss serenades the surrounding mockingjays with Rue's song. Their melodious response abruptly ends as Cato suddenly appears, weaponless and panting, from the forest. Katniss manages to land an arrow on his chest, but his body armor deflects it. Instead of attacking, Cato dashes past them. Spotting mysterious creatures in the distance, Katniss chooses to flee.

chapter 25

Katniss identifies the pursuing creatures as muttations, hybrid beasts created by the Capitol. They resemble oversized wolves and walk upright. Cato flees towards the Cornucopia and Katniss trails after him, but she realizes Peeta can't catch up due to his wounded leg. From the Cornucopia's peak, she shoots arrows at the nearing muttations, aiding Peeta to scramble up to safety. She gets a shock when one of the muttations appears to be Glimmer, implying the dead tributes have been morphed into these grotesque creatures. A muttation nearly drags Peeta off the edge, but Katniss manages to save him. However, Cato seizes this opportunity to choke Peeta and warns that if Katniss fires at him, Peeta will plunge to his demise. A quick-thinking Peeta smears an "X" in blood on Cato's hand, leading to his distraction and Katniss shooting him, with Peeta subsequently pushing him off. Cato, armored, battles the muttations for an hour until he is hauled into the Cornucopia. Night falls, Cato's still alive but no cannon signal his death. Katniss deduces that the Gamemakers are drawing out his torture for the audience's entertainment. Meanwhile, Peeta's leg injury worsens despite Katniss's improvised tourniquet. At dawn, she sees Cato, disfigured but breathing. Partly out of compassion and partly for victory, she kills him. Despite the cannon sounding and the muttations retreating, the Games continue. As they descend from the Cornucopia and Katniss believes their victory is assured, Claudius Templesmith declares that the earlier rule change has been reversed: only one can win now. Peeta is nonplussed and draws his weapon, prompting Katniss to aim at him. He tells her to shoot, but she can't. An idea strikes her then – she takes the deadly berries from her pouch. As they both put the berries in their mouths, Claudius Templesmith interjects, announcing that they have indeed won the Seventy-Fourth Hunger Games.

chapter 26

After spitting out the berries, Katniss and Peeta are whisked away in a hovercraft. Doctors tend to Peeta, while Katniss is taken to a different room where she barely recognizes her wild appearance in a glass door reflection. They return to the Training Center, where Katniss causes a scene as Peeta is removed for medical attention. She is sedated and later wakes up in another room, fully healed and even able to hear again. An Avox girl confirms Peeta survived. Katniss remains confined to her bed for an unknown stretch of time. When she eventually awakens, she finds her restraints removed and a familiar tribute outfit laid out for her. She encounters Effie, Haymitch, and Cinna in the corridor. She gets comforting embraces from Haymitch and Cinna, who both commend her for her performance. They inform her that she will meet Peeta again at the closing ceremony. Cinna dresses her in a simple, youthful dress, hinting that it has a deeper significance linked to the Capitol. Katniss is escorted to a waiting area beneath the stage where Haymitch reveals the Capitol is enraged with her for outsmarting them in the arena. He advises her to play the love card with Peeta to protect them all. Filled with fear, she gets ready for her stage interview, anxious about the safety of Peeta, their families, and herself.

chapter 27

Katniss is elevated onto a stage where she reunites with Peeta, who now requires a cane. Haymitch advises her to rest her head on Peeta's shoulder as they watch a film about the Games. After the film, President Snow crowns them both but his smile doesn't reach his eyes. They attend a banquet at the President's mansion then return to the Training Center. Katniss attempts to find Peeta for a private conversation but is unsuccessful and discovers her door has been locked from outside. The following day, Caesar Flickerman interviews them. Katniss struggles to answer when asked when she fell in love with Peeta. It's suggested that it was when she called out his name in the Games. She cautiously replies that it was then that she realized she could keep him. She also learns that Peeta now has a prosthetic leg. The critical question is when she decided to use the berries, and she clarifies that she couldn't bear losing Peeta. Haymitch commends her performance later. On their return journey to District 12, Katniss reflects on her family and Gale. Haymitch advises her to maintain her act until the media attention is over. An agitated Peeta questions if Katniss has been pretending all along. She assures him that it wasn't entirely an act but she is increasingly confused. Her attempt to explain her inability to fully commit to him fails as he walks away. Arriving in District 12, they are met with a flurry of cameras. Peeta holds her hand and suggests that they pretend one last time, which fills Katniss with dread.

Enjoying this summary?
Buy the book! (it's better)