The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Scholastic Press, 2008.

North America in the future is no longer 50 states, but 12 Districts governed by the Capitol, located somewhere west of the Rockies. To remind the Districts of their defeat, annual Hunger Games test the mettle of two representatives ("tributes") from each district, who compete in an event that is strongly reminiscent of today's "survival" TV shows - there will be only one survivor.

Collins successfully explores the effects of war on young people as they struggle to live in a poor and repressive envronment, and on the emotional impact on the tributes and their families as they deal with murder and the responsibilities of being a victor. She personalizes the message vividly as she follows Katniss and Peeta, the two tributes from District 12 (somewhere near Appalachia), and the repercussions from their first-ever dual win in the Hunger Games.

I've read successful post-holocaust novels before, some written for teens and some for adults (like Hoban's Riddley Walker), but this one grabbed my heart, and I purchased the second title in the series, Catching Fire, as soon as I read the last words.