Friday, October 1, 2010
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Kessler (once it comes in)
Lisabeth Lewis is having a tough few weeks. She refuses to speak to her best friend after they had a big fight over Lisabeth's supposed eating disorder. Her boyfriend is going to eventually leave her because she is getting so fat. Then some guy shows up at her door and drops off a package with old fashioned scales and the message "Thou art famine!" Now Lisa has a black steed to ride around the world and a new job as one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Lisa loves the freedom of her new job, but will she be able to inflict the pain of hunger on others as easily as she does herself?
After reading the plot summary for Hunger, I was not very interested in reading it. I love fantasy, but this just sounded absurd. I am so glad that I took the time to read this amazing, short novel! Lisa's voice is so genuine as a teen who is intelligent and witty but suffering from an eating disorder. At times her narration had me smiling, and other moments I found myself crying for her. The secondary characters, like the boyfriend and the best friend, played small roles in the book and existed primarily to highlight Lisa's internal problems. The only other character I found extremely intriquing was Death; hopefully we will hear more from him in later books. The fantasy element is obviously quite prevalent in this novel and utterly enjoyable, but I felt that the realistic portrayal of a girl suffering from anorexia made this book memorable for me. I appluad the author for this extremely inventive mash-up of fantasy and realism and I can't wait for her next book, due out next year.
The Bottom Line: Hunger was a terrific, short read that tackles a difficult subject with an inventive fantasy plotline. Even though there will be more books about the other horsemen, this is a stand-alone novel. No cliffhangers! If you enjoy fantasy or quick reads you should definitely pick this one up. Fans of realistic fiction who don't mind a little fantasy should give this one a try as well.
The publisher provided me with an advanced reader's copy of the book for this review. Hunger has an expected release date of October 18, 2010. The library should have a copy as quickly as possible.