The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins is the American version of Battle Royale. What makes it utterly original is the fact that the series is written in the voice of the heroine, Katniss Everdeen. She's not a helpless victim of circumstance like Bella Swan. Her bravery and resourcefulness is more akin to a Hermione Granger, or better yet to Lyra Silvertongue from the His Dark Materials trilogy. She insists at every point in the books to be an active participant in her own fate. This specific trait makes her one of the strongest and most interesting women in recent fiction. She has her love triangle, of course, which appeals to the Twihards, but she never apologizes for it. Never relies on her men to make her whole or sees one as more worthy than the other. She is able to recognize both of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as her own. Katniss is unapologetically indecisive, and both her love interests are noble characters that reluctantly accept her for it. The gore and death traps mix well with descriptions of media prep teams, stylists, and costume changes, making the books appealing to both the boys who like the comic book violence and to the girls who will see themselves relating to the lethal (yet beautiful) protagonist. It's brilliant commentary on the media and celebrity merged with unflinching brutality that makes us contemplate the hypocrisy of war and politics. The first two books end on cliffhangers, so you can't help but make your way through the entire trilogy at a rapid rate. The only critique I have is in the last book, "Mockingjay". It features one uncharacteristic vote made by Katniss toward the end of the story that I could never see her making. Nevertheless, this is not a deal breaker, since it doesn't end up becoming a plot point that sticks. (If you want specifics on this one point of contention (with major SPOILERS), read the first comment to this post below.) Overall, the books are well worth reading or listening to and are on their way to becoming classic young adult fiction. Check 'em out before the first movie comes out next year!