I was so prepared to be disappointed by this book because of its recent hype and popularity but I was completely not disappointed! This is one of the best books I have read in a while. I got so caught up in the story I read it in about 48 hours. It actually deserves its popularity, unlike some books I could mention.
The Hunger Games is set in a dystopia that used to be North America. Their are several districts which are subjugated by the capital. People in the capital enjoy wealth while those in the districts starve and generally have pretty terrible lives. To flaunt its power over the districts, each year the capital takes a boy and a girl from each district and forces them all to fight to the death in a televised game. The story follows Katniss, one of the best heroines in any book I have ever read. She is the provider for her mother and sister, and actually grounded and mature, unlike most girls portrayed in fiction. The Hunger Games is not about her feelings usually, but when Katniss talks about her feelings and all that she actually sounds like a real person! The book isn't a series of her poor decisions. She is a badass. I don't want to give away any more of the plot, because it is super awesome and everyone should read this book.
The Hunger Games is written in first person, present tense, e.g.: "I roll an unfamiliar berry in my fingers." It was distracting for about three pages, then I stopped noticing and it seemed natural with the fast paced, immediate nature of the story. I am not sure I have ever read a book written in such a way, but it somehow worked really well.
I was a little worried that, despite being a young adult book, The Hunger Games would be disturbing and violent given the setting. It really wasn't! Remarkably, even though the book was about teenagers having to kill each other it was very tasteful and not disturbing. I appreciated the complete absence of any sexual violence.
There are so many aspects of this book that blew me away. I feel like I can't go into all the things I loved about this book without giving a lot away, but just know it totally rocked my world. I can't wait to get a hold of its sequels. I am so glad I waited to read this book until the entire trilogy was published... I would hate to have to wait to finish the series. I am definitely going to pick up the second and third books ASAP. I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone who likes adventure stories, dystopian settings, female heroes, young adult books... It's really an amazing book!