I've had this audiobook subscription with audible.com for about two years now, but recently I've been pretty picky about what I download and listen to. For example, if I think a book will be really good, I won't download it because I feel like really good books should be read. So lately I've been listening to some really mediocre books (which is why I'm quitting my subscription after this month).
Afton recommended I listen to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (though I can't remember when this was... when I was home for Christmas?). About a month ago I finally got around to downloading and listening to it. Disappointed by my recent, short-lived foray into young-adult fiction (Twilight, Percy Jackson, Uglies, etc.), I wasn't expecting much from The Hunger Games. I, however, was pleasantly surprised. I like being pleasantly surprised.
Here's what I liked about it:
Post apocalyptica: I'm getting tired of books with post apocalyptic settings, but I found The Hunger Games refreshing because the author uses the setting as an element necessary to tell an awesome story, not as a device to make some annoying comment on society.
Characters: While Ms. Collins may not be able to name her characters that well -- what self-respecting young man would go by Peeta? C'mon! -- she sure knows how to develop them. You're interested in their lives and you care what happens to them. This should be standard with every book, right? Sadly it's not.
Love triangle: OK, there is definitely a Edward-Bella-Jacob aspect to the book (well, more so in the second than in the first), though I won't say with which characters as not to ruin any surprises. And sure, it's a big part of the story, but it's not the entire story. (Sorry about that, things got ugly and I had to pull out that Twilight reference.)
The games: So you leave a bunch of teenagers to fend in the wilderness with more weapons than survival supplies -- the last one living wins. You televise the event and call it the Hunger Games. And that's the premise of the book.
From what I can tell, the author is planning on writing one more book in the series for a total of three books. I listened to the second already, Catching Fire, and enjoyed it more than the first. Conveniently, the third book comes out on my birthday of this year -- just be sure to coordinate with one another because I don't need multiple copies of the same book.