The book takes place in a future North America, where due to some prior disaster (not really mentioned), there are only a few remaining cities: the Capital, and twelve surrounding "districts". At some point, the districts attempted to rebel against the powerful capital, and in punishment, they are forced to participate in the "Hunger Games". Every year, each district must send two teenagers to participate in a televised multi-week fight to the death "game": 24 enter, one survives. (think Survivor, except with killing instead of voting.) The story is told from the point of view of the girl tribute from District 12 -- what remains of "Appalachia", now with a population of 8000. But my description doesn't really do it justice: it's quite a gripping tale, filled with action and emotion.
It's certainly one of my all time favorite books...on to the sequel!