In this scifi novel by Suzanne Collins, Katniss, Peeta and 22 other teenagers are sent as tributes to the Hunger Games, which only the lone victor will survive. The yearly televised Hunger Games are meant to punish the regions of North America which rebelled against The Capitol generations before. The premise sounded too violent and Survivor-esque for me, but when my book club picked it, I found myself glued to the pages. The Hunger Games is the first in a trilogy, and is being also made into a movie, coming out in March. This is probably the first YA series I've read since Harry Potter that has been as good (but different), and like HP, it has a big following in fandom.
Suzanne Collins talks about the influences that the Greek myth of the Minotaur, the gladiators of ancient Rome, and even the Great Depression have had on The Hunger Games trilogy in this interview.