This is the first book in the celebrated trilogy by Suzanne Collins and the first book I read on my new Nook Color. I'd been vaguely aware of this series but it wasn't until the release of the third book this fall and a conversation in Indianapolis with Trevor before seeing The National that I made the decision to read it. I'm very glad I did.
The Hunger Games takes place in a future where America is no more - in its place is something called Panem, which is dominated by the Capitol. The Capitol rules over 12 Districts and once a year uses the Hunger Games as a way of reminding the districts of that dominance. During the Games, each District sends one boy and one girl to compete in a match for the death. The winning child brings fame and fortune back home with them. It is a completely barbaric system that everyone had to go along with.
We are introduced to Katniss Everdeen. She is the older of two daughters who live with their mother (their father died in a coal mining accident). Their mother is not a very effective one and Katniss helps feed the family through hunting in the forbidden forest zone, keeping some food for the family and trading the rest for other supplies. Against all odds, her little sister Prim's name is pulled to be a participant in the Hunger Games and Katniss volunteers to take her place. The novel follows her and she and Peeta, the other tribute from District 12, make their way through everything associated with the Games.
The novel is quite a page-turner, especially once the Games start in earnest. Not only are we interested in how she makes her way through the slaughter but also in her developing relationship with Peeta. It is a sad, defiant, horrific, and occasionally humorous story. Katniss earns her personal growth by her actions and reactions. When it appears she might have made it, things seem to get even worse (and no, that's not quite a spoiler).
My next decision is whether to download and read the next book in the trilogy now or to read a book or two in between, so as the savor the series. I honestly don't know which way I'll go but I do know I'll finish the trilogy within the next few months either way.