I heard about Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games from two reliable friends. They were right--it's a great read.
As with all science fiction the exposition of this book takes a while, but it's well worth the set-up. This book for adolescents prizes independence (even rebellion, for a good cause) and self sufficiency. I enjoyed the plot, the female protagonist, and the supporting characters. Fans of The Giver will like it, but I could truly recommend this book to just about anyone--it's that accessible. Brutality occurs, but the author avoids getting overly descriptive. (Think fourth grade and up.)
Now I just have to wait for the sequel, due out this fall.