THE HUNGER GAMES
This is an extraordinary novel, drawn from a clever premise and peopled with fascinating, complicated characters. It is packed with so many cliffhangers and plot twists that readers will want to finish it in one sitting -- and then go learn how to use a bow and arrow!
In what used to be North America, the 12 districts surrounding the capitol are forced to offer up a yearly tribute: a teenage boy and girl who will join 22 other tributes in a huge outdoor arena for a televised fight to the death. Katniss Everdeen is the female tribute from District 12 and accustomed to hunting and gathering to feed her mother and sister. But will her survival skills be enough for her to triumph over tributes who have been training for this their whole lives -- and the boy from her district, Peeta, who has secretly loved her from afar? (Scholastic, Oct., 420 pp., $17.99)