And here we come to the first of four first-person, present-tense, vaguely futuristic/dystopian kinda novels that I read in a row. This was probably the best of the four, though that's not to say the others weren't good.
Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
What it's about: In the future, the former U.S. is divided into twelve poor districts and the Capitol that rules them. To keep the people in line, the Capitol makes two kids from each district fight to the death in the Battle Royale-style Hunger Games. Our protagonist Katniss is taken to fight when she volunteers to go in her sister's place, and she and the boy from her district are taken to the Capitol to be prepared for and to fight in the games.
What I thought: First off, this is a book that makes first person present tense narration work. If you think about it, when the book has a protagonist who could die at, like, any second, you lose a lot of the suspense if it's in past tense. And the first person really got me inside Katniss's head and personality. And she's one interesting personality. Tenacious, self-centered in the way plenty of people are, clever and calculating, Katniss is a great character to follow in a story like this. Her personality gave her relationship with Peeta an interesting dynamic. I've also got to say that the world of this story really worked for me and made the battle to the death scenario believable. The whole book wasn't just a fight to the death in the arena; there was an overlying plot about the country's politics, and yet that was interesting, too. This was a well-crafted, suspenseful book.
Overall: I can't recommend this enough. I'm so excited for the sequel.