I read this book over the Christmas holidays; it was on my relative's nightstand.
This dystopic novel is set in the new United States. Denver is now the capitol. Cities in the eastern seaboard don't exist. There are 12 districts that rebelled against the rulers, and they have to pay a tribute each year as punishment. (The 13th district was wiped out completely shortly before the story began.)
Most people in the districts don't live well. To supplement their food supply, Katniss Everdeen poaches with a friend and trades some catches at a nasty market. If the hunting is bad, she and her family eat rats. Katniss also gathers herbs and berries, during her hunts. She is a teen and is not at school full-time.
The tribute is to send a teen boy and girl from each district to Denver to fight to the death. Imagine a combination of gladitor style games with "Survivor" reality show: the participants are dropped into different environments in each contest, hunt for their food and water, and plan to kill each other, until one person is left alive. All citizens have to watch. But, people in the Capitol want action;One year was considered boring; everyone died of thirst in the desert.
The winner gets more food and honor for the district.
This novel is a well-written YA novel, but I think it's rather brutal. However, if young people have watched Lord of the Rings or other recent movies that are a bit violent, then they shouldn't get nightmares.
Collins' world is totally believable. I was engrossed in the novel. If you want young people to read books, they should enjoy this work.