The Hunger Games takes place in a dystopian future where America has been divided into twelve districts. The districts are ruled over by the totalitarian dictatorship of the Capitol. (The setting reminds me of Firefly, with its contrast between the grubby, poverty-stricken outer worlds and the Core Planets with their clean, freshly-scrubbed, well-fed, but thoroughly subjugated and endlessly monitored populace.)
In order to emphasize its control, every year the Capitol demands a sacrifice. Two children from each district are chosen at random to fight to the death in a televised bloody free-for-all, the eponymous Hunger Games.