Earlier this month, I finished a book called The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Let me just say...this is a FANTASTIC book!
The story is based upon a futuristic world where there is a central Capital that acts as the governing body for 13 Districts. At one point in time, the Districts rebelled against the Capital and fought amongst themselves for various resources. As a means to end the fighting, the Capital took control and obliterated one of the districts...District 13. This was to prove a point to the remaining districts that the Capital was powerful and if they didn't do what the Capital said they, too, would be destroyed.
In order to "remind" the districts of the pointless fighting the Capital devised The Hunger Games. The whole point of the Hunger Games is for children from each district to be placed in an arena and fight to the death. The last one standing wins the Games for that year. Each year, the remaining 12 Districts would hold a reaping to select a single boy and a single girl from each district to participate in The Hunger Games. The names are selected from a bin where everyone in a certain age range are required to put their names in at least once. If your family was poor and didn't have enough to eat, you could put your name in more times in exchange for additional food/goods.
In this particular story, the focus is on a young girl name Katniss. Her father was killed in a mining accident has she has been illegally hunting with her friend, Gale, in order to provide food for Gale's family and for Katniss's mother and younger sister, Prim. Katniss has done everything she possibly can to provide for her family and has tried to keep her younger sister's name out of the reaping selection. In this fateful year, even though Katniss' name has been placed in the reaping multiple times, her younger sister, who's name is entered just once, was selected. Katniss did what an older sister does, and willingly took Prim's place in the reaping.
So now, Katniss is off to the Capital to join the other Tributes to fight to the death in the arena. She and her fellow Tribute from District 12, Peeta, don't know quite what to make of the Games. They know they are going to their deaths and yet they are unwilling to just give up and let the other Tributes, or the Capital, win.
This is truly an excellent book and its EXTREMELY hard to put down once you start reading it. I highly recommend picking it up from your local bookstore or library and setting aside a weekend to read it. ;-)