Each year the 13 districts of Panem, a country set in futuristic North America, are required to send a male and female youth to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a televised olympic-like competition, but where athletes fight to the death in an arena located in the Capitol. The winner brings prosperity to his or her district. Some districts are very wealthy and train children from a young age to participate, but District 13, Katniss Everdeen's home, is poor and only one other person has won from her district. There is a lottery process for choosing, known as the "reaping," and when Katniss's younger sister, Primrose, is chosen, Katniss volunteers to go in her place. Peeta, a boy whom Katniss knows from stealing bread from his mother's bakery, is the male participant. Katniss has to use all of the skills she had honed from sneaking out into the wilderness beyond the fenced in area of District 13 where she and her best friend, Gale, have hunted wild game. Katniss and Peeta's sponsor, the former District 13 winner, is a drunk who seems to be of little help during the preparation for the games. Katniss and Peeta have an unexplained connection to one another and together they show a united front during the Opening Ceremony of the games, dressing in complimentary costumes. The crowd takes a liking to them. The games open with each of the 26 contestants being dropped into the arena. They have to use what weapons they can grab and their skills to find food, shelter and protection from others who are trying to kill them. Naturally alliances are formed and Peeta and Katniss seem to find clever ways to outwit the others and survive until the end. In a bold move, Katniss challenges President Snow by suggesting that no one will win if they don't allow BOTH her and Peeta be the winners. She has poisonous capsules that they agree to swallow and end the 74th Hunger Games with no winner. Of course, this cannot happen and both Peeta and Katniss are named the winners, little did they know that this single action has greater consequences than either could predict.