The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins has captivated readers and movie-watcher alike for more than a decade. With the publication of A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, you may be looking for a re-read, or perhaps you never read the books in the first place. So what is the best way to read The Hunger Games books in order?
First, we’ll list The Hunger Games series according to both publication order and chronological order. Finally, we’ll list out the proper Hunger Games movie order for those who like to watch the films after reading the books.
The Hunger Games Summary
The Hunger Games is a dystopian series of books that depicts Panem, a corrupted, perverted, and debased nation, that consists of twelve major districts, and an underground 13th district. The Capitol hosts a televised competition annually that exerts controls over the twelve districts.
This annual game involves the selection of tributes: a teenage male and female aged between the range of twelve and eighteen years. Each of the twelve districts would appoint two tributes, who will compete with 22 other tributes.
Kill or die. Participants have no choice but to comply if they want to live. The Hunger Games only crowns one winner. All the rest must perish.
The Hunger Games revolves around a 16-year-old, Katniss Everdeen, who resides in District 12 who volunteered to participate in the 74th annual Hunger Games in place of her 12-year-old, younger sister, Primrose Everdeen.
She finds herself in a dilemma, where she has to survive between 22 well-trained tributes from other districts, and her childhood friend, Peeta from her district.
You can read The Hunger Games books in order in two separate ways: publication and chronology.
The Hunger Games Books in Order of Publication
- The Hunger Games (2008)
- Catching Fire (2009)
- Mockingjay (2010)
- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2020)
The Hunger Games Books in Chronological Order
The Hunger Games Movies Order
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Movie
After looking at The Hunger Games movie order above, you may be wondering why there is no Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. At the time of this writing, the movie is still in the planning phases.
Not published until Summer 2020, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes place 10 years after the original trilogy came to an end and 5 years following the dismal conclusion of the movie franchise.
Based on how poorly the final Mockingjay movie was received, you may be surprised to hear that there even will be a movie for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. But in August 2021, Lionsgate announced that production on the film will begin in 2022 for a late 2023 or early 2024 release.
The Hunger Games Books
For simplicity, in the descriptions below, I’ve listed the Hunger Games books in order of publication.
1. The Hunger Games
Could you survive on your own in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
2. Catching Fire
Sparks are igniting.
Flames are spreading.
And the Capitol wants revenge.
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol—a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled unrest that she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.
My name is Katniss Everdeen.
Why am I not dead?
I should be dead.
Katniss Everdeen, The Girl on Fire, has survived, even though the Capital destroyed her home. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. The Capital has captured Peeta. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans—except Katniss.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay—no matter what the personal cost.
4. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.
The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
Looking for more books in order?
Check out my list of the Twilight Series in Order.