The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games is the first book in the series and was released on September 14, 2008.
The Hunger Games follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12 who volunteers for the 74th Hunger Games in place of her younger sister Primrose Everdeen. Also selected from District 12 is Peeta Mellark. They are mentored by their district's only living victor, Haymitch Abernathy, who won 24 years earlier and has since led a solitary life of alcoholism.
Peeta confesses his longtime secret love for Katniss in a televised interview prior to the Games. This revelation stuns Katniss, who harbors feelings for Gale Hawthorne, her friend and hunting partner. Haymitch advises her to feign feelings for Peeta in order to gain wealthy sponsors who can provide crucial supplies to the "star-crossed lovers" during the Games.
In the arena, Katniss allies with Rue, a young tribute from District 11 who reminds Katniss of her kid sister. When Rue is killed, Katniss places flowers around her body as an act of defiance toward the Capitol. Then the remaining tributes are alerted to a rule change that allows tributes from the same district to win as a team. Katniss finds a seriously wounded Peeta and nurses him back to health. When all of the other tributes are dead, the rule change is abruptly revoked. With neither willing to kill the other, Katniss comes up with a solution: a double suicide by eating poisonous berries. This forces the authorities to concede just in time to save their lives. During and after the Games, Katniss develops genuine feelings for Peeta and struggles to reconcile them with what she feels for Gale.
Haymitch warns her that the danger is far from over. The authorities are furious at being made fools of, and the only way to try to allay their anger is to pretend that her actions were because of her love for Peeta. On the journey home, Peeta is dismayed to learn of the deception.
Catching Fire is the second installment in the series, released on September 1, 2009.
In Catching Fire, which begins six months after the conclusion of The Hunger Games, Katniss learns that her defiance in the previous novel has started a chain reaction that has inspired rebellion in the districts. President Snow threatens to harm Katniss' family and friends if she does not help to defuse the unrest in the districts and marry Peeta. Meanwhile, Peeta has become aware of Katniss' disingenuous love for him, but he has also been informed of Snow's threats, so he promises to help keep up the act to spare the citizens of District 12. Katniss and Peeta tour the districts as victors and plan a public wedding. While they follow Snow's orders and keep up the ruse, Katniss inadvertently fuels the rebellion, and the mockingjay pin she wears becomes its symbol. District by district, the citizens of Panem begin to stage uprisings against the Capitol. Snow announces a special 75th edition of the Hunger Games—known as the Quarter Quell—in which Katniss and Peeta are forced to compete with other past victors, effectively canceling the wedding. At Haymitch's urging, the pair teams up with several other tributes, and manages to destroy the arena and escape the Games. Katniss is rescued by the rebel forces from District 13, and Gale informs her that the Capitol has destroyed District 12, and captured both Peeta and their District 7 ally, Johanna Mason. Katniss ultimately learns—to her surprise—that she had inadvertently been an integral part of the rebellion all along; her rescue had been jointly planned by Haymitch, Plutarch Heavensbee, and Finnick Odair, among others. After some hesitation Katniss joins the rebels.
Mockingjay, the third and final book in The Hunger Games series, was released on August 24, 2010.
Most of the districts have rebelled against the Capitol, led by District 13 and its President Alma Coin. The Capitol lied about the district being destroyed in the Dark Days. After a Mexican standoff with the Capitol, the District 13 residents took to living underground and rebuilding their strength. The District 12 survivors find shelter with them. Katniss, after seeing first-hand the destruction wrought on her district, agrees to become the "Mockingjay", the symbol of the rebellion. She sets conditions, however. Peeta, Johanna Mason, Annie Cresta, and Enobaria, fellow Games victors captured by the Capitol, are to be granted immunity. Katniss also demands the privilege of killing Snow, but Coin only agrees to flip for the honor.
For her sake, a rescue mission is mounted that succeeds in rescuing Peeta, Johanna and Annie. However, Peeta has been brainwashed to kill Katniss, and he tries to choke her to death upon their reunion. He undergoes experimental treatment to try to cure him.
After she recovers, Katniss and a team known as the Star Squad, composed of Gale, Peeta, Finnick, a camera crew, and various other soldiers, are assigned to film propaganda in relatively quiet combat zones. Katniss, however, decides to go to the Capitol to kill Snow, pretending that Coin gave her that mission. Most of the squad are killed along the way, including recently married Finnick. As Katniss approaches Snow's mansion, she sees a group of Capitol children surrounding it as human shields. Suddenly a hovercraft drops silver parachutes on the children, who reach for them, hoping they bear food. Some of the parachutes explode, creating carnage. The advancing rebels send in medics, including Prim. Then the rest of the parachutes blow up, killing Prim, just as she spots her sister.
Later, Katniss, also injured, awakens from a coma to learn that the rebels have won, and Snow is awaiting execution at her hands. When she meets Snow by chance, he claims that it was Coin who secretly ordered the bombings in order to strip away the support of his remaining followers. Coin then asks the surviving victors to vote on a final Hunger Games, involving the children of high-ranking Capitol officials (including Snow's granddaughter). Katniss and Haymitch cast the deciding votes in favor of the scheme. However, at what is supposed to be Snow's execution, Katniss instead kills Coin with her bow. Snow laughs, then dies.
Katniss is tried, but the jury believes she was mentally unfit, and she is sent home to District 12. Both Katniss' mother and Gale take jobs in other districts. Peeta regains his sanity. Katniss settles down with him, and after many years of persuasion by him, she finally agrees to have children. They have a girl and then a boy.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Set 64 years before The Hunger Games events, it tells the story of the 'Dark Days' which led to the failed rebellion in Panem. It follows Coriolanus Snow when he was 18 years old. Collins stated that the book would explore the 10 years after the end of the war where the people of Panem try to get back on their feet and figure out how to go on within their new reality.
The book was released on May 19, 2020.