Summer Reads: We’re Obsessed with The Hunger Games

 The craze around the popular book series has landed at PAN. Join us as we explore its PR roots.

At the beginning of this year, the ladies at PAN gathered to create the company’s first “Book Club.” Each month—or perhaps every few months given our busy schedules!—we choose a new book to read and conclude with a discussion meeting at a local spot after the work day (that also involves good food and fun!). This month’s book was chosen by Katelyn and we’re thrilled to have completed The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the first book in a three part series.

I was immediately interested in seeing where this book came from, when it was first published and how it rose to such success and media attention. I love a good book that’s worthy of such great PR!

Below, I’ve included a timeline of The Hunger Games series. From the book reviews and the awards, to the contests and the big screen—see how its popularity grew from its media roots, landing The Hunger Games as a world-wide craze.

  • 9/8/08 – Prominent American author Stephen King releases his review of The Hunger Games for Entertainment Weekly. The positive review hits prior to the book’s release and includes comments such as, “I couldn’t stop reading” and “but since this is the first novel of a projected trilogy, it seems to me that the essential question is whether or not readers will care enough to stick around and find out what comes next for [main character] Katniss. I know I will.”
  • 9/14/08 – The Hunger Games is published by Scholastic.
  •  11/9/08 – John Green reviews The Hunger Games in The New York Times, declaring it “brilliantly plotted and perfectly paced.”
  • 2008 – The Hunger Games is named one of Publishers Weekly’s “Best Books of the Year.”
  • 3/1/09 – Lionsgate Entertainment acquires worldwide distribution rights with Nina Jacobson’s production company Color Force.
  • 5/1/09 – Scholastic unveils its “How Would You Survive” writing contest featuring The Hunger Games. Prizes include a signed copy of The Hunger Games, an advanced reader’s copy of Catching Fire and a private lunch with author Suzanne Collins at the Scholastic headquarters in New York City.
  • 9/1/09 – Catching Fire, the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy, publishes.
  • 8/24/10 – Mocking Jay, the third book of the Hunger Games trilogy, publishes.
  • 3/16/11 – A press announcement discloses that Jennifer Lawrence has landed the role of main character Katniss for The Hunger Games movie.
  • 8/22/11 – Entertainment Weekly publishes a feature, “Meet the Cast,” a review of the actors casted as characters for the movie, “The Hunger Games.”
  • 8/28/11 – A Teaser Trailer of “The Hunger Games” airs during MTV’s Video Music Awards. A clip of Jennifer Lawrence starring as main character Katniss Everdeen is unveiled for the first time.
  • 2011 – The Hunger Games wins the California Young Reader Medal.
  • 3/23/12 – “The Hunger Games” movie will be released.

Have you come across any additional media or marketing efforts surrounding The Hunger Games? One in particular that stood out to me was Scholastic’s contest preceding the release of the second book, Catching Fire. It’s an out-of-the-box way to secure buzz around the second book’s debut.

If you haven’t already read the books, be sure to pick up a copy and get on board. We’re obsessed!