Collins has a strong, compelling writing style, and this book grabs you from the beginning. When Katniss volunteers to go to the Hunger Games in her sister's place, I got chills. With that one selfless act, Katniss changed from a hard, not incredibly lovable character to someone sympathetic and worth cheering for.
The worldbuilding is fantastic and terrifying. I loved learning about the districts and the Capitol, and getting a peek at the crazy fashions and voyeuristic nature of the elite before we're thrown into the Games, which are terrifying and nightmare-inducing.
While I wanted more from Katniss -- for her to make changes and decisions -- this book was still a winner for me.