For new readers of my sequel to this - 'Tears of a Victor', here is a summary of the events of 'The 44th Annual Hunger Games'

Fifteen year old Connor Jedd, from District 5, gets reaped for the 44th Hunger Games, leaving behind his older brother, Tristan, and younger sister, Pura. He is greeted by his escort Decimus, and the two District 5 mentors – Tobi, Victor of the 26th Games, and Tyga, the 18 year old female Victor of the 42nd Games. He is also introduced to the skilful and hard-hearted Ace, the 17 year old female tribute who was reaped from District 5. Connor has a tough time coping with the run-up to the Games, showing no particularly strong skills, which eventually leads him to a low training score of 5. However, during training he agrees on allying with a District 8 girl, Melissa, who volunteered for her sister.

During his time with his mentors, he overhears Tobi comforting Tyga, who cries over the fact that at least one of her tributes will die. In his interview, Connor comes across as friendly, and he manages to increase his odds through a strong performance in front of the Capitol, having been styled by a Capitol woman called Cassia, and her prep team – Pollia, Fabius and Carvilia (who gives him his token, a bracelet designed by a young girl in District 5).

Upon entering the arena, Connor attempts to get a bag from the Cornucopia, but is attacked whilst doing so. Ace throws a knife at Connor's attacker, potentially saving his life, and together, they run off into the arena. Terra, a District 7 girl runs into Ace and Connor's hideout, but he convinces her to stay and ally with them. However, that night, Ace kills Terra, revealing her ruthlessness. This leads Connor to abandon his alliance with Ace.

He witnesses Teal, the District 2 girl – a member of the Career pack, let a 13-year old girl from 9 run free, but the girl runs straight into the other Careers and they kill her. Connor continues through the arena until he eventually finds Melissa and her District partner, Cam. Following the 1000th death of a tribute in the Games, the Capitol bombs the arena to create a good show, which kills Cam.

Through watching the District 3 girl, who Connor nicknames "Frizz", they discover that the bombs contain water in them, explaining the lack of water in the arena. Whilst exploring, they also see Teal get exiled from the Careers after her sparing of the girl from 9 is revealed. Eventually, due to a lack of events, the Capitol call a Feast at the Cornucopia, with the prize being a minute long conversation with the tribute's mentor. At the Feast, Ace, having allied with Rayne, the District 11 girl, manages to kill off two of the Careers. The Feast also results in Rayne's death.

Having received their cases from the Feast, Connor and Melissa each have a private conversation with their mentors. Later, Connor is attacked by Teal. However, in self defence, he hits her over the head with a rock twice, which kills her. Horrified at what he's done, Connor becomes unreachable, with Melissa trying (but failing) to get him to talk to her. After a day of staring into space, he awakes from his trance due to a cannon representing Frizz's death.

With only five tributes remaining – Ace, Connor, Melissa and the District 1 pair, Melissa tries to poison Connor. However, this backfires when he unintentionally lets her drink it, not being aware that it was being a poison. This kills her, and Connor is alone again. Following the announcement of Melissa's death, Ace finds her way to Connor, knowing that District 1 would be working together and that she can't defeat both of them on her own.

The pair arrive at the Cornucopia, where a large stone wall has been constructed. When they reach it, it crumbles, and they begin a face-off against the District 1 pair, Bliss and Chant. Bliss attacks Connor, but Ace kills her with a throwing knife. Ace wounds Chant in a fight, and Connor fires his slingshot with the intention of killing Ace. However, his poor aim causes him to hit Chant instead, leaving just Connor and Ace to fight it out (Connor's intention of killing Ace is not revealed to anyone). Ace attacks Connor, pinning him up against the Cornucopia and swinging at him with an axe. However, her powerful attacks hitting the Cornucopia dislodge a large rock from the roof of it, and it hits her on the head. Connor holds her as she dies, and is then announced the Victor of the Games.