*Movie/Book Spoiler Alert*
My girls' dad convinced me to watch the movie last summer. I was pleasantly surprised. Although Katniss seems very sedated throughout the movie, you can see her passion for her family. Peeta has a history with Katniss that is glossed over more in the movie than I would have liked, but at least it wasn't left out. I loved the movie, but would have enjoyed it much more had they not left out so much from the book. I know this makes me sound like a hipster or something, but...
It would have been good to know that Peeta burned that bread on purpose all those years ago, and took a beating for it, just so he could give it to her.
In the movie, during the goodbye scene, it would have been helpful to see just how much faith his parents had in her to win. It is made very clear in the book.
In the movie, Peeta gets a nasty cut. In the book, it is bad enough to eventually cost him his leg. That is pretty important in the building of his character in the future.
There are other things, but since I would really rather you read it for yourself (and learn the truth about the mutant mutts in the arena) I shall give you no more.
Basically, just as in the film, this is a novel set in a dystopian future. Here, North America is now called Panem, and is divided into 13 districts. Following a particularly brutal civil war, each district has to give one boy and one girl to fight to the death, and the winner's district is rewarded.
There is some dissent among fans as to how the districts are layed out, but she clearly states that The Capitol is Colorado Springs, and district 12 consists of the Northeast coal mining states.
When Katniss hears her sister's name called in the reaping, she passionately volunteers to take her lace, setting in motion a series of events that create a nightmare for the capitol, and giving hope to the people of Panem.
My initial opinion assumption of this series was way off base. The target audience of this book does not invalidate its enjoy-ability, even for a much older reader. I would not recommend it for persons under the age of twelve, as it has some very graphic and emotional scenes, but it is a very good read.