Well, my wife requested this from the library, but the waiting list was so long that when we finally received it, she figured both of us should read it so we don't have to wait so long again. Although it was fairly interesting, it was also fairly mindless and not necessarily worth the wait (or the hype).
I can understand how this would appeal to the YA audience, but I hesitate to call this a true dystopian novel. For a novel to be truly dystopian (i.e., similar to 1984, The Stand, or even A Canticle for Leibowitz), there has to be a primary philosophical/sociological point that goes to the extreme that results in the dystopia (i.e., "thought police"; biological weapon mistake; or a revolt against technology, engineers, and scientists).
This book did not proceed from such an extreme point, at least not in any well-defined sense. Instead, it vaguely resembled a mix between Lord of the Flies and The Running Man (or maybe even The Long Walk, since it deals with teens).
I confess to enjoying these Bachman Books when I was younger, but none of them tried to paint a full dystopian worldview - just a game that takes place within that vaguely-defined horrible future of gruellingly fatal games. But The Hunger Games attempts to paint a picture of this whole world in which this depraived bloodsport exists, without really explaining (at least in any detail other than "the Capital wanted to punish the Districts") why such a world exists in the first place.
Again, maybe this resonates better with tweens and young adults who are dealing with learning "the rules of life" only to see them constantly shift and change on them. (Society, faith, friends, and family all giving teenagers conflicting advice: "do this..."; "except when this is the case..."; "no, don't listen to them..."; "forget that! This is what you *really* should do".) Maybe the mix of anarchy within strict authoritarianism strikes a chord with teens that it doesn't quite hit with an adult and parent.
That said, it's decent enough as "chewing gum reading", but not deeply philosophical or insightful. Given the content (violent, but not necessarily ultraviolent, with little to object to on a "sexual content" basis), I also wouldn't recommend it for anyone under, oh.. say... 14 or 15 years old? (It's definitely better than letting them read some of the other "urban horror" or "paranormal romance" crap that is geared toward their age group.)