This book is by Suzanne Collins, author of the Gregor the Overlander series. It is a dark tale of a possible future world in which the people are gamepieces of a sadistic government whose methods of control have created The Hunger Games. A lottery is held in which young people between the ages of 12 and 16 are picked, two from each of the 12 districts, and forced to fight to the death. The games take place in a controlled environment, one that the government can change in order to influence the outcome. The entire event is televised before, during, and after, so if you are good at playing their game, someone might just send you some help. If you aren’t, well, you are on your own.
People from the wealthier districts train their children from birth to be proficient in some art of killing, so besides having had food all their lives, they also have a bit of a killer instinct.
If you are from a poorer district, however, like Katniss, you have had to scrounge for every meal you’ve ever had, which means you are scrawnier and haven’t had the time to think about training skills. At the age of twelve, Katniss lost her father and instead of dying the slow death of starvation, Katniss learned to hunt and gather in the woods (something that was illegal). She developed stealth and ingenuity in order to provide for her mother and younger sister. And when her sister, Prim, is picked for the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to fight in her place.
She may not have been born wealthy, but she can hunt and is a survivor. She just has to play their very horrible game.