When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fin- gers stretch out, seeking Prim's warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. My home is District I was in the Hunger. Games. I escaped. The Capitol hates me. Peeta was taken prisoner. He is thought to be dead. Most likely he is dead. this book is stolen property. This book was originally published in hardcover by Scholastic Press in . ing, or food shortages, or the Hunger Games.

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PART I “THE TRIBUTES”2|Page The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins. shortages, or the Hunger Games. had to kill the lynx because he scared off game. International Standard Book Number (Ebook-PDF). Recipes Inspired by The Hunger Games, Catching Fire International Standard Book Number (Ebook-PDF). This book.. The best.

I just miss him. And I hate beingso alone.

Does he miss me? He must. I think of the eleven flashing under my name last night. Gale and I were thrown together by a mu-tual need to survive.

How do you sidestep that? Tomorrow night will be our tele-vised interviews. I guess the whole team will have their handsfull readying us for that. I get up and take a quick shower, being a bit more carefulabout the buttons I hit, and head down to the dining room. Peeta, Effie, and Haymitch are huddled around the table talk-ing in hushed voices. That seems odd, but hunger wins outover curiosity and I load up my plate with breakfast before Ijoin them.

Perfect on the bed of wild rice. I take a big gulp of orange juice and wipe my mouth. Trying to appear mediocre in front of the other tri-butes is the last bit of strategy I remember. Haymitch shrugs. Forthere to be betrayal, there would have had to been trust first. Between Peeta and me.

And trust has not been part of theagreement. But the boy who risked a beatingto give me bread, the one who steadied me in the chariot, whocovered for me with the redheaded Avox girl, who insistedHaymitch know my hunting skills.

Hunger Games Book 1

And high time, too. The Games begin in two days, and trust will only be a weak-ness.

The shoesare the worst part. The dress poses another problem. Smiling is mostly about smiling more.

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Effie makes mesay a hundred banal phrases starting with a smile, while smil-ing, or ending with a smile. By lunch, the muscles in my cheeksare twitching from overuse. Then she composesherself and beams at me. After lunch, Haymitchtakes me into the sitting room, directs me to the couch, andthen just frowns at me for a while. Are you going to be charm-ing?

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You volun-teered to save your sister. Cinna made you look unforgettable. People are intrigued, but noone knows who you are. If you appeal to the crowd,either by being humorous or brutal or eccentric, you gain fa-vor. Or am I not allowed to ask? Haymitch takes the role of the interviewerand I try to answer his questions in a winning fashion. All I can think is how un-just the whole thing is, the Hunger Games.

Why am I hoppingaround like some trained dog trying to please people I hate? They want to knowabout you, Katniss. Make something up! That hurts. Try actinghumble. How nicethe people are. How the city amazes you. Just keepturning it back around, all right. Or mysterious. By the end of the session, I am no one at all. Haymitchstarted drinking somewhere around witty, and a nasty edgehas crept into his voice. Just answer thequestions and try not to let the audience see how openly youdespise them.

When the girl with the red hair comes in to turn downmy bed, her eyes widen at the mess. For her, justice must finally be happening. At least mydeath will help pay for the life of the boy in the woods. But instead of fleeing the room, the girl closes the door be-hind her and goes to the bathroom. She comes back with adamp cloth and wipes my face gently then cleans the bloodfrom a broken plate off my hands.

Why is she doing this? Whyam I letting her? She shakes her head. Does this mean we were right to standby?

That she has forgiven me? She taps her lips with her fingers then points to my chest. Ithink she means that I would just have ended up an Avox, too. Probably would have. An Avox or dead. I spend the next hour helping the redheaded girl clean theroom.

When all the garbage has been dropped down a dispos-al and the food cleaned away, she turns down my bed. I crawlin between the sheets like a five-year-old and let her tuck mein. Then she goes. I want her to stay until I fall asleep. To bethere when I wake up. I want the protection of this girl, eventhough she never had mine.

My lessons with Effie and Haymitch areover. This day belongs to Cinna.

Maybe hecan make me look so wonderful, no one will care what comesout of my mouth. The team works on me until late afternoon, turning my skinto glowing satin, stenciling patterns on my arms, paintingflame designs on my twenty perfect nails. Then Venia goes towork on my hair, weaving strands of red into a pattern thatbegins at my left ear, wraps around my head, and then falls inone braid down my right shoulder.

They erase my face with alayer of pale makeup and draw my features back out. Hugedark eyes, full red lips, lashes that throw off bits of light whenI blink. Finally, they cover my entire body in a powder thatmakes me shimmer in gold dust.

I can feel the silken inside as they slip it down over mynaked body, then the weight. It must be forty pounds. Then si-lence. Where skin shimmers and eyes sh and apparently they make their clothes from jewels.

Be-cause my dress, oh, my dress is entirely covered in reflectiveprecious gems, red and yellow and white with bits of blue thataccent the tips of the flame design. The slightest movementgives the impression I am engulfed in tongues of fire. I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as thesun. For a while, we all just stare at me.

I hold out my arms and spin in acircle. The prep team screams in admiration. That heknows how dreadful I am. Haymitch called me a dead slug. Cinna thinks about this a moment.

The prep team adores you. You even won r the Gamemakers. No one can help butadmire your spirit. This is a new thought. In a sort of brave way. Cinna takes my icy hands in his warm ones.

Who would your best friend be? Iwould never be telling Gale those things about me. He alreadyknows them. Could you think of me as a friend? Because it might be,really.

Or at least a straw to grasp at. The interviews take place on astage constructed in front of the Training Center. As Cinna turns the doorknob, I stop his hand.

Portia and her gang have been hard at work. Peetalooks striking in a black suit with flame accents.

Hay-mitch and Effie are all fancied up for the occasion. When the elevator opens, the other tributes are being linedup to take the stage. All twenty-four of us sit in a big arcthroughout the interviews. How Iwish I could be first and get the whole thing out of the way! Plus, the audiencewill start to get bored, just as the Gamemakers did.

So act like it.

Hunger Games

I thought we abandoned that when Peeta asked forseparate coaching. But I guess that was a private, not a publicthing. Just stepping on the stage makes my breathing rapid andshallow. I can feel my pulse pounding in my temples.

An elevated seatingunit has been set up for prestigious guests, with the stylistscommanding the front row. The cameras will turn to themwhen the crowd is reacting to their handiwork. A large balco-ny off a building to the right has been reserved for the Game-makers. Television crews have claimed most of the other bal-conies. But the City Circle and the avenues that feed into it arecompletely packed with people. Standing room only. At homesand community halls around the country, every television setis turned on.

Every citizen of Panem is tuned in.

There will beno blackouts tonight. Caesar Flickerman, the man who has hosted the interviewsfor more than forty years, bounces onto the stage.

Same face under a coating of pure whitemakeup. Same hairstyle that he dyes a different color for eachHunger Games. Same ceremonial suit, midnight blue dottedwith a thousand tiny electric bulbs that twinkle like stars. They do surgery in the Capitol, to make people appear young-er and thinner. In District 12, looking old is something of an ievement since so many people die early. You see an elder-ly person you want to congratulate them on their longevity,ask the secret of survival.

But here it isdifferent. He looks freakish but lessfrightening than he did last year when his color was crimsonand he seemed to be bleeding. Caesar tells a few jokes towarm up the audience but then gets down to business.

The girl tribute from District 1, looking provocative in asee-through gold gown, steps up the center of the stage to joinCaesar for her interview.

With that flowingblonde hair, emerald green eyes, her body tall and lush. Each interview only lasts three minutes.

Then a buzzergoes off and the next tribute is up. I sit like a lady, the way Effie showed me, as the districtsslip by. Everyone seems to be playing up some angle. The monstrous boy from District 2 is a ruthless killing ma-chine.

The fox-faced girl from District 5 sly and elusive. I spot-ted Cinna as soon as he took his place, but even his presence not relax me. The crippled boy from 10 is veryquiet. Rue, who is dressed in a gossamer gown complete withwings, flutters her way to Caesar. A hush falls over the crowdat the sight of this magical wisp of a tribute. The boy tribute from District 11, Thresh, has the same darkskin as Rue, but the resemblance stops there.

If only I was his size, I could get away with sullen and hos-tile and it would be just fine! I bet half the sponsors are atleast considering him. What did he say? My mouth has gone as dry as sawdust. I desperately findCinna in the crowd and lock eyes with him. I imagine thewords coming from his lips.

Be honest, I think. Be honest. Caesar laughs, and vaguely I realize some of the audiencehas joined in. I nod. This is what I meanabout Caesar. He tries to help you out.

Whatdid you think of that costume? Big laugh. A real one from the audience. Cinna, my friend, I should tell him anyway. Twirl for me. I spin in a circle once and the reaction is immediate. The audience breaks intocheers. But the nerves and thespinning have gotten to me. Caesar wraps a protective arm around me.

So, how about that training score. Give us a hintwhat happened in there. My lips are sealed.

His mood is quieter now. Can you tell us about her? No, not all of you. But maybe Cinna. And I love her more than anything. After the reaping? I swallow hard. But instead of warmth, I feel an icy rigidity take over mybody. My muscles tense as they do before a kill. When I speak,my voice seems to have dropped an octave.

The buzz-er goes off. Best of luck, KatnissEverdeen, tribute from District Twelve. I look to Cin-na for reassurance.

He gives me a subtle thumbs-up. Hehas the audience from the get-go, though; I can hear themlaughing, shouting out. Thenhas a funny anecdote about the perils of the Capitol showers. Peeta hesitates, then gives an unconvincing shake of hishead.

There must be some special girl. Peeta sighs. Unrequited love theycan relate to. You win, you go home. Peeta blushes beet red and stammers out. Then I can see my face, mouth halfopen in a mix of surprise and protest, magnified on everyscreen as I realize, Me!

He means me! I press my lips togetherand stare at the floor, hoping this will conceal the emotionsstarting to boil up inside of me. The crowd is murmuring inagreement, a few have even given agonized cries. The crowd screams assent.

Peeta has absolutelywiped the rest of us off the map with his declaration of love me. We stand for theanthem.

The Hunger Games

Poor tragic us. But I know better. After the anthem, the tributes file back into the TrainingCenter lobby and onto the elevators. I make sure to veer into acar that does not contain Peeta. The crowd slows our entou-rages of stylists and mentors and chaperones, so we have onlyeach other for company. No one speaks. My elevator stops todeposit four tributes before I am alone and then find the doorsopening on the twelfth floor. Peeta has only just stepped fromhis car when I slam my palms into his chest.

He loses his bal-ance and crashes into an ugly urn filled with fake flowers. Theurn tips and shatters into hundreds of tiny pieces. Peeta landsin the shards, and blood immediately flows from his hands.

No right to go saying those things aboutme! Now the elevators open and the whole crew is there, Effie,Haymitch, Cinna, and Portia. Haymitch turns on me. Turning me into some kindof fool in front of the entire country? To you! That boy just gave you something you could neverachieve on your own. You were about asromantic as dirt until he said he wanted you. Now they all do. The star-crossed lovers fromDistrict Twelve! Haymitch grabs my shoulders and pins me against the wall. The most I could say about you after your interview was thatyou were nice enough, although that in itself was a small mi-racle.

Oh, oh, oh, how theboys back home fall longingly at your feet. Which do you thinkwill get you more sponsors? I shove hishands off my shoulders and step away, trying to clear myhead. Cinna comes over and puts his arm around me. My cheeks burn again at the thought of Gale. So what does it matter? My anger fading. Haymitch is right.

I survived my interview, but what wasI really? A silly girl spinning in a sparkling, dress. Theonly moment of any substance I hail was when I talked aboutPrim. Silly and sparkly and forgettable. No, not en-tirely forgettable, I have my eleven in training. But now Peeta has made me an object of love. Not just his. To hear him tell it I have many admirers. I remember how strongly theyresponded to his confession.

Star-crossed lovers. Haymitch isright, they eat that stuff up in the Capitol. I force myself to ac-knowledge Peeta. In the silence that follows, delicious smells of our dinnerwaft in from the dining room. We all follow him to the table and take our places. Butthen Peeta is bleeding too heavily, and Portia leads him off formedical treatment. We start the cream and rose-petal soupwithout them.

Tomorrow we will be in the arena. He has done me a favorand I have answered with an injury. Will I never stop owinghim? After dinner, we watch the replay in the sitting room. Iseem frilly and shallow, twirling and giggling in my dress, al-though the others assure me I am charming. Peeta actually ischarming and then utterly winning as the boy in love. Tomorrow at dawn, we will be roused andprepared for the arena.

But Peetaand I must make an early start. I know Haymitch and Effie will not be going with us. Cinna and Por-tia will travel with us to the very spot from which we will belaunched into the arena. Still final good-byes must be saidhere.

Effie takes both of us by the hand and, with actual tears inher eyes, wishes us well. Thanks us for being the best tributesit has ever been her privilege to sponsor. Haymitch crosses his arms and looks us both over. And weonly nod. What else is there to say? When I head to my room, Peeta lingers to talk to Portia. Whatever strange words of parting we exchange canwait until tomorrow. My covers are drawn back, but there isno sign of the redheaded Avox girl.

I wish I knew her name. Ishould have asked it. She could write it down maybe. Or act itout. But perhaps that would only result in punishment for her.

I take a shower and scrub the gold paint, the makeup, thescent of beauty from my body. I decide to keepthem as reminder of who I am to the audience.

Katniss, thegirl who was on fire. Perhaps it will give me something to holdon to in the days to come. I pull on a thick, fleecy nightgown and climb into bed. And I need sleep desperately because in the arena every mo-ment I give in to fatigue will be an invitation to death.

One hour, two, three pass, and my eyelidsrefuse to get heavy. Against all odds, Katniss 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 an unrest 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. Why am I not dead?

I should be dead. Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist.He turns to me. And Gale is devoted to his family. Just answer thequestions and try not to let the audience see how openly youdespise them. She could write it down maybe. What does society is the history of class struggles. And so on and so on untilyou reach the age of eighteen, the final year ofeligibility, when your name goes into the pool seventimes.

Her trapping ability? Surely, there were more tears. Now the elevators open and the whole crew is there, Effie,Haymitch, Cinna, and Portia.

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