Time is approaching for the dreaded "reaping," a drawing each person who is between twelve and eighteen must enter. If your name is drawn, you become a tribute -- a contestant in the deadly Hunger Games, a nationwide televised reality game show in which 24 tributes fight to the bloody death. The last survivor wins the Games.
Katniss is horrified when her beloved little sister, Prim, is chosen as a tribute; she immediately offers to replace her. As Katniss is readied to appear on the show, she knows that she is heading off to almost certain death. The other tribute from District 12 is Peeta Mellark, the baker's son. Peeta is not Katniss's friend, but he once did her an incredible kindness. Now she knows she will have to be his murderer, since the point of the Hunger Games is "kill or be killed." But will Katniss survive long enough to be a contender?
The thought-provoking THE HUNGER GAMES, with its sly commentary on our evolving society, is not to be missed. Katniss is someone easy to relate to; her adventures are breathlessly plotted, making this book a true page-turner, nearly impossible to put down. My friend insisted I read it, claiming it will be the next Harry Potter phenomenon. I agree. If you only have time to read one book this season, this is the one I recommend.