Can’t get enough of Katniss Everdeen? Hunger Games movie viewers who aren’t avid book readers have admitted to getting hooked on the books because of how engaging they are.
Whether someone recommended the books or you have watched the Jennifer Lawrence movies, you need to know the chronology of the books to read them without spoilers.
This article covers the Hunger Games chronology alongside the author’s journey to writing the novels. In this post, you will also find out the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Hunger Games books.
But first, let’s look at the best Hunger Games books in order of popularity.
Our Best Hunger Games Books at a glance:
Suzanne Collins: The Genius Behind Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins became a household name with the publication of her Hunger Games series. But she didn’t set out to write novels. Collins was a Fine Arts graduate who wrote for children’s television shows long before The Hunger Games.
But her journey started way back in Hartford, Connecticut, where she was born to Jane Brady Collins and Lt. Colonel Michael John Collins. Her father was a war hero and veteran, and his experiences informed her interest in combat and heroism.
Another influence from her childhood that is evident in The Hunger Games is “life on the move.” Her parents, along with her siblings Kathryn, Andrew, and Joan, were always on the move because of military postings.
Having lived in the Eastern US for most of her life, Collins took up arts education at the most accessible school around. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in arts from Indiana University Bloomington. Before that, Collings had graduated as a theater arts major from the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham.
Her degrees set her up for a career in the arts, but she confined her creative expression to the written word when she began her writing career. In 1991, she started working for a children’s TV studio.
Some of her writing credits include Little Bear, Oswald, and Clarissa Explains It All, alongside multiple Nickelodeon shows. Children’s fiction writing trained Collins’ pen to be geared toward engagement. It is easy for children to get bored, and good writing can keep them involved in a story.
As Suzanne began her young-adult writing career, the engagement factor stuck with her. But long before that, she had a very admirable run as a best-selling children’s author.
Collings met children’s author James Proimos in the context of adapting his book for a Warner Brothers show, Generation O! The meeting inspired Collins to try her hand at writing books herself.
This would be a pivotal point in her career as she would move from writing for pre-existing IP to creating her IP. And that matters because The Hunger Games went on to become much more than just a book series.
She released The Hunger Games with Scholastic Press in 2008, which went on to become an instant hit. The book series was inspired by her insight into poverty and the effects of war, along with the necessity of heroism. She drew from her life as a military daughter and her father’s experiences serving in Korea and Vietnam.
The book also drew inspiration from Greek mythology and her experience with the publishing world after the introduction of Harry Potter on the big screen.
Suzann Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy was adapted for the big screen, and it was written to be easy to adapt, making it a success on the screen as well.
Collins’ history as an adaptation screenplay writer, alongside her engagement-focused writing, made Hunger Games such a success that the first book had an incredible conversion rate for subsequent purchases.
If you’ve read only one of the Hunger Games books, you probably want to know about the rest. The section below covers the chronology for all interested readers of The Hunger Games.
Hunger Games Books In Order Of Publication
The Best Hunger Games Books
The Hunger Games is a novel that introduces Katniss Everdeen and the dystopian world that she lives in. It is by far the most popular book in the series, primarily due to the novelty factor and the book title being the same as the series title.
More importantly, it is also popular for being a complete story. The way Suzanne Collins approached this title was to pen a story that had no loose ends but enough character development to leave room for a sequel.
So even if you’re unsure whether you want to read three books, you can still pick this one up and read a complete story with a strong beginning, a compelling middle, and a satisfying end.
Mockingjay is a fresh take on revolutions in fiction. It is far less predictable than Catching Fire, which is why it is the second most popular book in the series. However, you need to read the second book to get to this one.
The events of Mockingjay are informed and elevated by the narrative of Catching Fire. It concludes the trilogy, so it benefits from both the recency bias and catharsis.
The final book is also more plot-packed than the second book, which is why it was turned into two movies. Read this book only if you have read all the Hunger Games books, though.
Catching Fire is the second book in the trilogy and is definitely on the recommended books list as it holds the overarching story together. It picks up after the events of the first book, where Katniss emerges unexpectedly triumphant. The themes in this novel include co-opting revolutionary movements and commodifying rebellion.
It extends the world of The Hunger Games, taking the games to a new level where previous champions battle it out for the next title. Katniss has no choice but to play along, and as much as she resists, she finds herself becoming what she set out to destroy.
The social commentary aspects are subtle and not on the nose, which is great. More importantly, the love triangle that was a possibility in the first book is fully established in this one. It is not as good as the first book, but it will make you thirst for more Hunger Games.
Hunger Games FAQs
Why Was It Called The Hunger Games?
The Hunger Games is an enthralling novel that includes elements of the story such as cannibalism during the rebellion when the food-producing districts refused to produce food, forcing the people of the Capitol to resort to extreme measures to survive.
What Is The Most Important Skill In The Hunger Games?
The most important skill in the Hunger Games is archery, as it is simultaneously a food-producing and food-protecting skill, both of which have immense value. Add to that the flair and entertainment aspects, which are very relevant to the reality-TV side of The Hunger Games, and you can see why archery is the main character’s primary skill.
What Are The Five Themes Of The Hunger Games?
Poverty, control, empathy, violence, and entertainment are the five themes in The Hunger Games. The books provide social commentary on each of these themes in the real world.
The ultimate thesis of The Hunger Games is that no matter how bleak things look, there is always room for rebellion, and no matter how powerful a wave of rebellion looks, there is always room for complacency.
How Does Hunger Games Relate To Society?
The Hunger Games relate to society in two major ways. Firstly, the well-off live off of the labor of those who don’t have as much financial freedom. And secondly, entertainment is used to keep the masses distracted enough to let the elite stay in power.
How Did Suzanne Collins Think Of Hunger Games?
Collins recalls flipping through TV channels when the TV went from coverage of the Iraq War to a reality show. Browsing back and forth, she suddenly had an idea of an apocalyptic society where suffering is turned into a game show.
Wrapping It Up
The Hunger Games is a unique type of fiction that both criticizes and celebrates aspects of modern society.
The book series provides commentary on power, empathy, selfishness, and entertainment.
But ultimately, it is a story of heroism told across three books, which are covered in order in the post above. They must be read in this order, or the subsequent volumes spoil the previous ones.