I didn't read the book & still loved this movie.
I can see why the book was so popular as once again there is a girl who has two suitors, but this time it has a selfless hero, a nice guy who is friend-zoned and plenty of other characters that are relate-able.
The movie seemed more to focus on being anti-violent rather than the political implications of the story & the games themselves. The political issues were mentioned & it seemed to me that it would be explored in a sequel.
The director did a great job of showing how horrible the violence is for anyone who might think that teenagers being brutally killed would be "cool." it isn't & there are plenty of scenes where that is reinforced. It was PG-13 so we didn't see any gore, but the screams alone were enough to convey the violence. Even the deaths of the "bad guys" were shown to be horrific so that there was no enjoyment of the violence. I'm glad the movie didn't shy away from the death of one of the younger children. It lingered & was uncomfortable to watch. It was a great emotional scene & should stick with you for awhile.