Book: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games is the first book in a trilogy of the same name. The story covers the participation of Katniss Everdeen in the Games, and is narrated in the first person from her perspective.
The book is set an unnamed time in the future in what was once North America. A serious of catastrophes and disasters, droughts and fires, storms and flooding, destroyed much of the region and wars were fought between those who were left. A new country Panem, comprised of the Capitol, built in the Rocky Mountains, and thirteen Districts rose from what remained of the continent. Each District specialises in a type of resource production, such as food, luxuries and factories.
The Hunger Games themselves are a televised blood sport. Each year, every individual in a District between the ages of 12 and 18 has their name entered in a draw to participate in the games. Each year, the number of entries a person has in a draw is increased by one. Should a person wish to buy more food for their family, they can do so at the cost of another entry in the draw. Twenty four participants enter the Hunger Games, but only one can win. The rest die.
Each District provides one boy and one girl, or tributes, in a public draw known as the Reaping to participate in the Hunger Games. The Games are a battle to the death in an arena where every action is monitored by cameras and microphones, and the arena itself is controlled by the Gamemakers.
The sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen comes from District 12 in the Appalachians. Her District provides coal to Panem, and she lives in a part known as the Seam. There are only 8,000 people in her District, so presumably the population of North America has declined a lot from its' highs. The District is surrounded by a fence, and leaving is prosecuted, although she does in order to hunt in the nearby woods for food for her family and to trade.
At this year's Reaping, Katniss's younger sister, Primrose, is unexpectedly drawn in her first ever participation in a Reaping. Katniss volunteers to go in her place; an act that is allowed but unheard of for her District. She departs on a train to the Capitol with the other representative of her District, Peeta Mellark, a baker's son, Effie Trinket, the Capitol representative, and the drunk Haymitch Abernathy, their mentor and one of only two people from District 12 to win the Hunger Games.
The Capitol is a scene of decadence and luxury compared to the hardscrabble survival in her District. The twenty four participants from the games train for some time beforehand, as well as appearing on television shows. Some of the Districts are much richer, and the tributes from those Districts are trained even before they enter, even though that isn't allowed, and are bigger, stronger and better fed, and thus usually the winner comes from one of these.
The book portrays a pretty dystopian future in which reality television has evolved into the blood sport that is its' logical descendent. Most of the power and wealth is concentrated into the Capitol, although most of its inhabitants are not so much bad people ars they are shallow and petty. Although the book is written for the teen market, it will likely appeal to adults also. There is also a film, also called The Hunger Games, based on this book.