- Hunger Games
The dystopian nation of Panem consists of a wealthy, glamorous Capitol, ruled by President Snow, ruling twelve poorer districts. As punishment for a past rebellion and as a way to demoralize the districts to quell social uprising, each district must provide two "tributes"—one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 selected by lottery (the "Reaping")—every year to compete in the televised Hunger Games; they must fight to the death in a vast arena, with the sole survivor rewarded with fame and wealth.
In District 12, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to be the female Tribute when her younger sister Primrose is initially drawn. She and the male Tribute Peeta Mellark, a boy her age from the same district, are escorted to the Capitol by chaperone Effie Trinket and their mentor Haymitch Abernathy, a past District 12 victor and severe alcoholic. Haymitch impresses on them the importance of gaining sponsors as they can provide gifts of food and supplies during the Games. During part of a series of interviews, Peeta publicly expresses his love for Katniss, which she initially takes as trying to earn sponsors' favor, but later learns his love is earnest. While training, Katniss observes the Career Tributes Marvel, Glimmer, Cato, and Clove, from Districts 1 and 2, who have been illegally training for the Games since a young age and have more chances to win. Meanwhile President Snow, worried that the popularity Katniss is courting may escalate, orders gamemaster Seneca Crane to ensure she does not advance far.
At the start of the games, Katniss ignores Haymitch's advice and tries to acquire supplies from the Cornucopia, the central point of the arena full of useful items, and narrowly avoids being killed; nearly half the Tributes are killed in the initial melee. Katniss tries to stay as far away from the other competitors but Crane directs his agents to trigger events on the field to force her back towards the others. She runs into the Careers, with whom Peeta has allied, and escapes up a tree and finds Rue, District 11's female Tribute, hiding in an adjacent tree. The two work together to knock a nest of poisonous tracker jackers onto the Careers, killing Glimmer and forcing the others to flee. Rue helps Katniss tend to her wounds; they become friends, and work out a plan to secretly destroy a cache of supplies that the Careers have been hoarding, causing the Careers to mistrust each other. Marvel discovers them and kills Rue before Katniss can help her. Katniss shoots and kills Marvel with an arrow, then mourns for Rue's loss, making sure her moment of sorrow is captured on the broadcast. The people of District 11, taken by Katniss' action, start to riot against the existing order, leading President Snow to warn Crane that this turn of events does not bode well for the Games.
When Crane returns, Haymitch suggests that he alter the game rules to allow, in the name of, "Young love," two winners to make things interesting. When this change is announced, with the stipulation that the winners have to be from the same district, Katniss searches for Peeta, finding him wounded after fleeing from the Careers. After moving him to safety, Katniss leaves to get medicine from the Cornucopia, where Clove attacks and boasts about Rue's death. Katniss is saved when Thresh, District 11's male tribute, arrives and kills Clove for her comments about Rue, sparing Katniss's life out of respect for the kindness she showed his fellow tribute. Katniss returns with the medicine and prepares Peeta for the final hours of the game. Katniss soon learns of Thresh's death as Crane sends out wild beasts after the only surviving tributes - Cato, Katniss, and Peeta. Katniss and Peeta make it to Cornucopia where Cato is waiting and threatens to kill them both as the wild animals approach. Katniss and Peeta narrowly gain the upper hand, and Cato is thrown to the ground and is eaten alive by the beasts. Katniss ends his misery by shooting an arrow through his head.
The sun rises, and Katniss and Peeta are still alive. They think they are the victors, but Crane shuts the district rule down, only allowing one victor. Katniss then convinces Peeta to enact a double suicide with her by ingesting poisonous Nightlock, which she had obtained in the woods. When the two are about to take the poison, Crane changes his mind again, because he sees that their double suicide will ruin the Games by eliminating anyone from becoming Victor. They are both crowned victors of the 74th Hunger Games. Haymitch warns Katniss that she has made many enemies by her acts of defiance. Snow condemns Crane to death, via ingesting Nightlock, for being outsmarted by Katniss and Peeta. As Katniss and Peeta return to District 12 to a hero's welcome, President Snow is furious at their success and begins pondering his next course of action.
- The Maze Runner
Thomas arrives in a place known as the Glade, left with no memories except his name. He meets other teenage boys called Gladers who have created a community. Each Glader is assigned to a task in different departments headed by a Keeper. Shortly after arrival, Thomas gets a tour by Alby, the oldest and the leader, and some other Gladers.
A gigantic maze surrounds the Glade. Inside, mechanical creatures called Grievers roam it at night. The huge doors into the maze close at sunset and reopen in the morning. Every week supplies are sent, and every month a new boy arrives in an elevator called, "the Box," It is the same elevator Thomas arrived in. There are also Beetle Blades, mechanical bugs which spy on the Gladers, with "WICKED" (World in Castastrophe - Killzone Experiment Department) written on them.
After Thomas arrives, an unconscious girl arrives carrying a note reading, "She's the last one." She is taken to the infirmary to recover from a coma before being questioned. Meanwhile, Thomas learns that the Gladers have unsuccessfully been trying to solve the Maze for two years, and that the antidote to a Griever sting revives small bits of memory. Chuck (a twelve year old boy), and Newt (the Gladers' second-in-command), befriend Thomas. Gladers exploring the Maze are called "Runners." Minho, the Keeper of the Runners, and Alby, the Gladers' leader, search for a dead Griever that Minho found while running the maze the day before. However, the Griever is found to be not dead and it stings Alby. Minho struggles to carry Alby back to the Glade, but as the doors close on them, Thomas runs into the Maze to help.
Hearing approaching Grievers, Minho leaves Thomas with an unconscious Alby. Thomas saves Alby and, finding Minho, tricks pursuing Grievers into falling off "the cliff" (an abyss within the Maze). Minho and Thomas return to the Glade as the doors open the next morning.
As the acting leader, Newt calls a "Gathering" to decide Thomas's fate for entering the Maze without permission. It is decided to make Thomas a Runner after serving one day in "the Slammer" (jail).
The day after, Thomas joins Minho running the Maze. They quickly discover a "Griever Hole" through a cliff, exposing the outside world. He also discovers words covered in vines that say, "World in Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department", assuming that WICKED is the acronym.
After returning to the Glade, Thomas is shocked that the girl speaks telepathically to him. Her name is Teresa, and she says she has triggered an "Ending." Soon afterward, Teresa awakes and befriends Thomas. The same day, the sky turns a dull gray, which Thomas attributes to the Creators of the Glade. That night, the Maze doors remain open, leaving the Gladers unprotected from the Grievers. The Grievers start taking one person each night. Alby also burns down the map room, but Minho and the other Runners had moved all the maps to a secret room. The Gladers align the maps, which spell out words. They have no relation to each other, and the Gladers determine it is a code.
Desperate to retrieve his lost memories, Thomas allows a Griever to sting him. After recovering, Thomas explains that he and Teresa were forced to help the Creators design the Maze. He says he and Teresa share a telepathic link. The way out of the Maze is over a cliff face and that it is an illusion to trick them. This is where the Grievers enter and exit the Maze. By following the Grievers, they can escape by punching the code words into a computer on the other side. Thomas leads the Gladers into the Maze and they confront a small army of Grievers. About half the Gladers die, but Thomas, Teresa, and Chuck escape down the hole and punch in the code and shut down the Maze. A door opens nearby.
The 21 remaining Gladers descend down a spiraling slide that dumps them into a massive underground bunker. There they meet the Creators: thin, pale, joyless adults who take copious notes while observing them from behind glass. A woman greets the Gladers, telling them they have done well. Gally appears and throws a knife at Thomas. Chuck dives in front of it, sacrificing his life to save him. Enraged, Thomas attacks Gally and knocks him unconscious.
Suddenly, a group of gunmen storm the room and shoot the woman and the Creators. The Gladers are taken out of this facility and put into a large bus. As they are boarding, a hideously scarred woman grabs Thomas and tells him that he is here to save everyone from the Flare before the driver runs her over. Thomas and Teresa learn from a rescuer that the world was ravaged after solar flares slammed Earth, killing millions within days, leaving the world a wasteland. A disease known as the Flare now threatens humanity. The group's goal is to stop the tests WICKED is doing, and find the cure for the Flare.
After two hours, the bus stops at a dormitory-like building. Inside, the Gladers find bunk beds with blankets, bathrooms, and food. They finally feel safe. Thomas drifts off to sleep feeling there is hope for the future.
In an epilogue, it is suggested that the apparent rescue of the Gladers is yet another test masterminded by the Creators of the Maze and that the one Thomas escaped is not the only one WICKED have been observing.