In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss' young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.
Wow, this is really a good book. It is listed as a Young Adult novel but I think adults will enjoy it just as equally. I had heard from a few friends that they couldn't put it down once they started reading it -- and it was the same for me. Once I got invested in the story, I couldn't put it down until I finished. Some of it is a bit graphic (the wolves near the end especially) and had me cringing. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I didn't find the romance to be overdone (unlike another popular teen series *cough* Twilight *cough*). I am looking forward to reading the next in the series - which I already borrowed from the library. I'm waiting a few days to start it though.
Next up for me: "At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream" by Wade Rouse.