The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Katniss Everdeen lives in a harsh future. The state of Panem keeps its 12 districts under control by a) limiting the food available to the districts and b) requiring each district to send one boy and one girl, between ages 12 and 18, to the annual Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are a fight to the death on live TV...imagine Survivor with death-fights instead of voting. The kids are chosen by lottery and Kat's baby sister is chosen in the first year she is eligible. Prim is NOT a survivalist: she would much rather heal creatures rather than shoot them. Even for food, even if she was starving. Now Kat was taught to poach by her dad and she has kept the family from starving in the wake of her dad's death. Kat volunteers to replace Prim in the Games, knowing it is probably a death sentence.
This is a powerful story that follows Kat through her selection and the Game itself. It is a profound demonstration of what one sixteen year old will do when she is hungry and is supporting her family. It is a 21st century "The Running Man," with overtones of "1984" and "Brave New World."
Suzanne Collins is known for her series on Gregor the Overlander and this new series promises to be just as striking. Because of the subject matter, this book is recommended for grades 7 and higher --- this is not for younger kids.