The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins # 1 in the Hunger Games trilogy
Here's what the Booklist review had to say:
/*Starred Review*/ This is a grand-opening salvo in a new series by the author of the Underland Chronicles. Sixteen-year-old Katniss poaches food for her widowed mother and little sister from the forest outside the legal perimeter of District 12, the poorest of the dozen districts constituting Panem, the North American dystopic state that has replaced the U.S. in the not-too-distant future. Her hunting and tracking skills serve her well when she is then cast into the nation's annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death where contestants must battle harsh terrain, artificially concocted weather conditions, and two teenaged contestants from each of Panem's districts. District 12's second "tribute" is Peeta, the baker's son, who has been in love with Katniss since he was five.
Each new plot twist ratchets up the tension, moving the story forward and keeping the reader on edge. Although Katniss may be skilled with a bow and arrow and adept at analyzing her opponents' next moves, she has much to learn about personal sentiments, especially her own. Populated by three-dimensional characters, this is a superb tale of physical adventure, political suspense, and romance.
When you finish The Hunger Games, you'll want to read the final two in the trilogy:
Catching Fire # 2
Mockingjay # 3
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Read the related Globe and Mail article here: It's all kidlit now, and that's just fine
Article author Jeet Heer argues the blurring of lines between books for kids and books for grown-ups may have Henry James turning in his grave, but the future of reading may depend on it.