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Hunger (Review)

Author(s)Jackie Morse Kessler
Edition: Paperback, 117 pages
PublisherHarcourt Graphia
Publication Date: October 18, 2010
Source: Borrowed from library

The Summary
“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.” 

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?

My Opinion

I came across Hunger in a random way (the way I love to find books).  When I was in Chicago, I went to an author event at Anderson's Bookshop which had 10 amazing YA authors in attendance.  I went for two people in particular: David Leviathan and Stephanie Perkins.  But many other awesome authors were there, including Jackie Kessler.  Each author gave a book talk, and Kessler was there talking about Rage, the second book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series.  I was so intrigued by it, I picked up Rage, but couldn't find a copy of Hunger.  Luckily, I found it at my library!

Hunger is an intense story; a really intense story.  Revolving around anorexia and bulimia, Kessler does an amazing job delving into the psyche of Lisa, the protagonist.  One of the reasons that it is so true to life is that Kessler herself suffered from an eating disorder.  Then, besides the fact that Hunger could be a fantastic contemporary novel all by itself, she throws in the Riders of the Apocalypse for good measure.  This just adds another fantastical element to the story, which really makes it sing.  This is what I love about fantasy/paranormal books.  The author is able to bring the psyche forward and manifest it in a form, making it become a tangible character.

Not only was the story heartbreaking, it was also very funny!  This is such an important aspect because if it wasn't funny, I'd literally be crying the entire time.  Books should reflect real life, and often heartbreak and humor go hand-in-hand.  Surprisingly, Death himself was the funniest part of the whole book!  Can you even imagine?  I loved that Kessler took these frightening biblical characters and turned each into something more.  Not exactly humanizing them, but giving each personalities which could be related to in some way.

The only problem I had with the book was the ending.  I felt it was too short and rushed.  The readers didn't really get to see any recovery being done by Lisa and I felt her journey as Famine was a little to short.  I would have liked to see more.  But luckily, I will get to read more about this world Kessler has created in Rage!  I urge everyone to go out and read Hunger by Jackie Kessler; I really enjoyed it!  And if possible buy a copy because a portion of proceeds will be donated to the National Eating Disorders Association (all of Kessler's books have this fantastic donation aspect to them.
Final Rating
Book Cover: 5/5
Book Title: 5/5
Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 7/10
Overall: 44/50: B+

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