The story takes place in a distant future where humanity has warred until our population is dangerously low. America is now known as Panem and consists of twelve districts and the capitol. About 74 years prior to the beginning of the story, the districts rebelled against the capitol and lost the war. Every year, as punishment for their rebellion, each district must offer a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to compete in the Hunger Games. 24 contestants enter an arena where they struggle to survive the wilderness and each other. One contestant gets to leave.
I was surprised to find these books in the young adult section. They lack profanity and sexual activity, but they are quite violent. The story gets very dark and stays that way right up to the end. It shows the devastation of war and how our fighting hurts all of us, while simultaneously showing that something must be done to stop a tyrannical and oppressive government.
This was the best trilogy I had read in a long time. If you have not read it yet, I strongly recommend you get started. The movie comes out in two months.