Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 10/18/10
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 fight her own inner demons?
A wildly original approach to the issue of eating disorders, Hunger is about the struggle to find balance in a world of extremes, and uses fantastic tropes to explore a difficult topic that touches the lives of many teens.
Plot: 4 Stars
This novel broached a very difficult topic in a new and inspiring way. Although it deals with the disease of anorexia with a bit of fantasy, that in no way takes away from the message. Not only does Lisa have to deal with her parents and peers while trying to hide her eating disorder, she much also travel the globe as Famine, one of the Horsemen of the Apocolypse. With her steed and scales by her side, she embarks on a mission to balance out hunger in both her life and the world. Her interaction with Death and the other Horsemen are very interesting along the way, and in the end she learns a lot about herself.
Pace: 5 Stars
At around 180 pages, this novel was much shorter than your average Paranormal Young Adult novel. That being said, it was the perfect pace and length for the story at hand. The novel ended exactly where and how it needed to. There was no sort of "I didn't get what I paid for" kind of feeling you sometimes get with a shorter novel. Sometimes, a story doesn't need to be 350 pages to get the point across. And often, those 350 page novel could use some trimming. This novel was concise and to the point, and flowed quite nicely.
Characters: 4.5 Stars
Lisa was a fantastic character because she was real. She had her ups and downs, her strengths and weaknesses. As someone who has never seen anorexia firsthand I really don't have much to compare her character to, but Lisa really rang true to me. She felt real and her disease felt real, not exaggerated or blown out of proportion. Her relationships with her friends didn't feel forced. War and Pestilence were very interesting and well-developed characters. I was glad they had such interesting and unique personalities, and weren't just stereotypes one would think of for War/Pestilence. And Death was amusing and mysterious and a bit funny at times.
Cover: 4.5 Stars
The cover gods bestoyed quite a gem for this book. And it looks even better in person because it's shiny. The scales are such an important part of the story, because of both Lisa's disease and her job as Famine. Too many Paranormal YA covers focus on a close up of a cover model (that may or may not fit the main character), and they often don't give much insight into the novel. But this simple, but elaborately decorated, image of the scales is a perfect representation of this novel. I couldn't imagine any other image as the cover.
Overall: 4.5 Stars
Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.