The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Wow! Hooked from the first page. YA, female protagonist, post-apocalyptic setting, young people getting shit done with their skills and their smarts, I loved it. I think this is the first time I am actually very excited to see the movie version, because I just couldn’t get enough of the book and now I’ll get to see more. My only nitpick is that the majority of the book is like riding a screaming firecracker headed straight for the titled Games, but once we’re actually in the arena with Katniss the Games go by very quickly with not enough impact. Perhaps the author shied away from the terror for a young audience, but I think readers jumped on the rocket expecting an explosion.
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to death before – and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.