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A book by Jackie Morse Kessler

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Fresh and Intriguing

  • Aug 22, 2010
Hunger / 978-0-547-34124-8

When Lisabeth Lewis can’t go on with life anymore – can’t go on with her domineering mother; her kind, but controlling father; and most of all the Thin voice that whispers to her constantly about the ever present need to be utterly, totally in control of every morsel she consumes – she’s more than a little bit surprised when her suicide attempt brings her a literal visit from Death, as well as a new commission: “Thou art the Black Rider.”

It would seem that the four horsemen of the apocalypse – Pestilence, War, Hunger, and Death – don’t just sit around twiddling their thumbs waiting for the apocalypse to start. No, they’re busy all the time, moving back and forth over the earth, holding responsibility over their respective dominions and doing the best they can (or in some cases, not) to wield their powers as responsibly as possible. There’s been a recent opening for the spot of Hunger, and Lisabeth fits the bill perfectly, given that she’s lived with constant self-induced hunger for as long as she can remember.

“Hunger” is that rare novel that manages to seamlessly interweave a serious moral and an intriguing and fascinating fantasy story – although “Hunger” is definitely a painfully real look at the dangers of anorexia and bulimia, the novel never comes off as trite or preachy. Instead, Lisa’s daily struggle with the Thin voice (the internal voice that tells her that she’s ugly, fat, and unworthy) is a superb choice at deep and meaningful character development – and as she struggles with the new powers she’s been granted, her fantastical struggles to act responsibly and help others closely parallel her real world struggles to eat responsibly and not hurt herself and the ones she loves.

I can’t recall the last time I’ve been so quickly and utterly hooked by a novel; author Kessler weaves the most interesting narrative, and she knows how to hook and hold an audience. Never preachy, she doesn’t shy away from stark portrayals of pain and suffering, and she has enough experience with the subject matter to understand that radical changes require outside help and cannot always be accomplished by an individual simply deciding to face her demons and instantly “get better”. Although this novel deals with some very mature and serious themes of pain, I cannot imagine anyone – young or old – not liking this captivating tale of Lisa and her journey.

I’m not usually one to clamor for sequels for sequel’s sake, but I would love to see Kessler continue this concept to the other three riders – she seems to have such an instinctive grasp of the demons that people wrestle with daily, that it would be a shame to not see more from this talented author.

Note: I received a free Advance Review Copy of this book from the publishing company via NetGalley.

~ Ana Mardoll
Fresh and Intriguing

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More Hunger reviews
review by . October 20, 2010
I was taken by surprise when I initially began to read Hunger.  I originally believed it to be an action-packed story about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - and it somewhat is, sans the action, but what it really is, is a story about a girl with an eating disorder.    Ms. Morse Kessler weaves a tale riddled with not only hunger, but depression, friendship, family and how having a disorder can take a toll on all that.  Although the book is short, it almost has a short story …
review by . July 05, 2010
Famine - it's what we associate with places far away from us. Places where people lay dying, bellies bloated and children looking like skeletons. Places they make commercials about - you know the ones: "Your donation can feed a child for a month...". But how many of us would think to associate famine with a very real problem much closer to home - anorexia?     "Hunger" is not your typical teen preach-and-learn novel. It is actually a very good story that stands completely on …
review by . October 03, 2010
Lisabeth Lewis refuses to acknowledge that she's anorexic. She can't be--especially when that voice inside her head tells her she's not nearly thin enough. So Lisa pushes away her best friend, her boyfriend, and the hunger pains, unwilling to face reality. And then things get strange--a man delivers a package late one night, and soon she starts seeing a set of scales everywhere and a horse in her garden, both completely invisible to everyone else. It's then that she discovers she is the newest Horsemen …
review by . August 06, 2010
Never having suffered from anorexia or bulemia, I feel I have significant insight into both diseases now. The detail was horrendously accurate and amazingly beautiful, given what it covered. And I loved that while this story was about eating disorders, it was also about an adventure with the heroine a girl who had no control over her own body. A definite must for any teenage girl with self esteem issues! This will help any girl see herself in a new light!
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Ana Mardoll's Profile      Location: United States   E-mail: anamardoll@gmail.com   Web Page: http://anamardoll.weebly.com/blog.html      … more
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"Fast-paced, witty, and heart-breaking! Jackie Morse Kessler is one of the most talented authors I know."—Richelle Mead, author of Vampire Academy

"Hunger is not just a good book. It is a great book. It is funny and sad, brilliant and tragic, and most of all, it speaks truth. I’ve always admired Jackie Kessler’s writing.  Now I adore it."—Rachel Caine, author of The Morganville Vampires

"Jackie Morse Kessler hits it out of the park with Hunger. Although this is a book with anorexia at its heart, there are no hidden lectures or story-slowing asides. Instead, Kessler deftly weaves the heroine Lisa’s struggle with food into a beautifully realized mythology, complete with a wisecracking and sexy Death and a new spin on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. An absolute must-read!"—Julie Kenner, author of Good Ghouls Do

"A fantastic and gripping read that never shies from its difficult subject matter, Kessler illuminates, through the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a very real problem facing teens today. While Lisabeth Lewis explores her self-induced hunger and attempts to battle the Thin voice, her incarnation as Famine explores the horrors and causes of world hunger. The contrast slots Hunger into its own category of awesome. This book is a knockout."—A.S. King, author of The Dust of 100 Dogs

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ISBN-10: 0547341245
ISBN-13: 978-0547341248
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Graphia
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