Katniss lives in Panem, the future North America, in District 12. Her father died in a coal mining accident when she was younger so she is left to take care of her mother and younger sister. Years ago, the 13 districts rose up against the Capitol but were defeated and District 13 was completely destroyed. Their punishment was the Hunger Games. You're eligible from ages 12-18. The winner of the Hunger Games is the only person alive at the end. At the reaping, something unexpected happens. The odds are defied. And then the games begin.
I was hooked in this book by page 24. It seems so far off but, in fact, it is not that hard to imagine something like this happening somewhere in the world. It does seem to be a bit gruesome for a teenager though.