Google+ Reading Teen: ARC Review: Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

ARC Review: Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

HungerReading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: Graphia; Original edition (October 18, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0547341245
ISBN-13: 978-0547341248

"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. 

My Review

You know what I really hate? Not finishing a book because I didn't like it. I feel like a failure. And I feel like its not fair to the author. I also hate giving reviews on saying how much I hated the book that I only semi-finished. But I hated this book so much, that I don't really care. I've been dreading writing this for awhile now, but I just need to get this over with. Sooo, here it goes... 
Hunger is only 174 pages long, and I didn't even finish it! Ugh, talk about a fail. It wasn't very well written at all! I was just so confused, Jackie Morse Kessler didn't make anything flow at all! I was so lost that I had to make sure many times that it wasn't the second book in the series. And I didn't like any of the characters. Lisa's dad was completely oblivious about everything, I mean, he didn't even realize how anorexic she was. But the character that annoyed me the most was the main character, Lisabeth. Its never a good sign when the main character makes you want to throw the book across the room and yell at it. (This almost happened actually...) The whole freaking time she is talking about how she wants a Hostess Cupcake or a french fry, etc. But she cant, because then she will get fat. And no joke, something like this goes through her mind when she is offered food: Brown rice, one hundred thirty-five calories. Steamed broccoli, two cups, fifty calories. One bite of chicken, thirty-six calories. Two hours on the exercise bike. I just rolled my eyes after every time she did that. When I think about, I mean really think about it, I cant come up with one thing I liked about this book. Harsh, yes I know. But I'm critiquing, am I not? I'm telling you what I thought of this book. And what I am trying to tell you is, this book was a huge disappointment. 
But, I might just be overly picky on what I read. So if you have already read this book, and liked it, please comment and tell me what you liked about it! (:

P.S. I don't mean to be insensitive to anybody after this review. Maybe if you are going through a problem like Lisabeth is, you might be able to relate to her in some way. I however didn't see a point in reading about Lisa's disorder. 

*A word to the parents, I didn't finish this book. But from what I read, there is some minor cursing, some kissing. And it deals with bulimia/anorexia. 


  1. I didn't finish Fallen, by Lauren Kate >.< I know everyone loves it, but there was just nothing happening, and I ended up returning it to the library, 100 pages or so in.

    I also felt like a failure, but it just didn't grab me. Which is sad, because the cover is soooo lovely, and the cover of Torment is even better.

  2. I did finish Hunger and thought it was great. I can not relate to someone counting calories all the time and thinking about how much time they have to spend on the bike later to get rid of the food they're having either but that was the whole point of the book - to display the eating disorder to the reader. To show you how the mind of an anorexic might work, how horrible it is for her to eat. Or how horrible it is that her parents don't realize what's wrong with her.

    Also I can't support your view on the writing. It flowed perfectly for me and I never got confused. The story is quite simple actually.

    I don't think your critique was done very well. You should have thought of the book in a bigger context. It's not always about thinking the same thoughts as the main character but to understand how the main character feels and what it would be like to be in their head.

    Possibly books about anorexia are just not your kind of books but you shouldn't condemn them like that either.

  3. I had a hard time finishing that book too... Teen dramas are not my fav, and I thought she could had explored the fantasy side of the story deeper.
    You said u didn't finish it so u probably didn't read the final letter the author wrote at the very end. It's beautiful. Just 2 pages, it's worth it! =)

  4. @Miss Bookiverse Just because a book is about a difficult issue, doesn't make it good, and doesn't mean that she should figure out a way to relate to it. Maybe if it had been better written, or written differently then Abigaile would have been able to relate to it better. Isn't that the sign of good writing? When someone who has never experienced an issue feels like she CAN relate to the character anyway? I haven't read this book, but I don't think you can criticize a person for not liking a book. Everyone's different and this was her experience. It doesn't take anything away from your experience with this book and how it affected you. There are plenty of books that I hated that other's have loved. That's why there are so many different types of books out there.

  5. Thanks for being honest, Abigaile! I wouldn't want you to pretend to like something that you didn't connect with! :D

  6. @Andye: I never said that books about difficult topis necessarily have to be good books.
    I can only speak for my case in which I have never experienced anorexia and still was able to relate to the character due to the author's excellent writing. If Abigaile couldn't, of course this is up to her. But the way she put it, it just sounded really weird to me, like she just couldn't relate to the character because she hadn't been in her shoes. It sounded like she didn't even try to understand, instead she reacts almost shocked that the character is actually counting calories and thinks about how to make them go away again when offered food.
    And I didn't mean to cricize Abigaile for not liking the book, it's up to her, and if she doesn't like the writing, fine, I just didn't find the reasons she gave very convincing and criticized thouse.

  7. @MissBookiverse

    Thank you so much for your comments. Abigaile is a teen and I try to encourage her to be honest about her book reviews, or why even write them, right? This is Abigaile being honest. I'm not really sure you can be upset about that. That is what Reading Teen is all about... honest reviews.

    I just read Linger by Maggie Stiefvater and could not finish it because it was so very slow. I am about to do an honest review on that. So be sure to come back and critique that one as well.

  8. @Tessa Quinn

    I really liked Fallen and Torment was even better. I'm sorry you didn't like it but I do like the fact that God made us all different with different taste.

  9. @Amy: I support honesty all the way, especially when it comes to book reviews. And yes, you are right, it's good that Abigaile states her opinion freely (she also mentioned how sorry she felt about it because she didn't want to offend the author, I know). I hate to say this because it's such a used sentence but maybe she's not at the right age yet to undestand a book like that? I mean, I don't even know what age she is but when I read her review I felt like she was a bit ignorant towards the topic of anorexia.

    Haha, I'm sure I'll come back for Linger, I loved that book ;)

  10. Abigaile - you go, girl! Thanks for writing such an honest, straightforward review :) Personally, I love it when bloggers don't mollycoddle around with their reviews. You told us why it didn't appeal to you, you said it respectfully, and you know what? Judging by the book's synopsis, and your thoughts, it really doesn't sound like something I'd like, either! So thank you for your insight. I enjoyed it!!
    And @ the lovely Amy - I yawned a few times in LONGER (er, LINGER) myself, haha :D Can't wait to read that review!

  11. If this book is for teens, shouldn't it be written so that teens are able to understand and relate? If Abigaile is a teen and found the book confusing and couldn't connect, isn't that a failure on the part of the author, not the reader? I'm not Abigaile's mom, but I do know her very well, and she is not simple minded. She's a very intelligent girl. If it was difficult for her to understand, I would venture a guess that it will be difficult for many teen girls to understand. Not to say that there won't be many that connect. Each person is moved by, affected by, changed by different books depending on their personality and life experiences.

  12. Andye, I'd really like you to read the book if you get the chance and see for yourself whether you have trouble following the story. The storyline really was quite simple. I know I didn't read it through Abigaile's eyes but she also didn't put up any examples to explain her point. I'd really like to know in which parts she got confused and why.
    I just don't see how this book should be hard to understand (I'm not talking about relating to the subject) for teens.

  13. I don't mind reading it, but even if I do understand it, I'm an adult, so I'm going to understand things that some teens don't. I've also had a lot of experience with teens that have gone through difficulties with anorexia and bulimia, so I think that will have an effect on my viewpoint. I'd love to post your review of Hunger if you'd like to send it to us. We sometimes will post a "rebuttal" review if we don't care for a book. Let me know what you think!

  14. @ Abigaile: Don't worry about writing a negative review. You can't help it if you didn't like the book! At least you're being honest. I recently had to write a negative review about a book, and I also felt pretty bad because it was an ARC meant to drum up publicity. But what can you do? Not every book is for everyone.

    @ Tessa: The only reason I finished Fallen was because I had paid for it. It was very, very slow up until the last few chapters. Hopefully Torment will actually get to the point!

  15. Woahhh. A lot happened while I was doing my schoolwork... Hmmmm. Where do I start?

    @Miss Bookiverse, Well first of all let me just say that, I understood the concept and point of the whole book (hah, I'm not an idiot. Its not very complex.), BUUUT, I felt like the flow and writing of the book was poor, so that left me confused on where the story was going. Btw, I'm 16.

    @Livia, I just read the last two pages, and the story was so sad! Hahaha, honestly though, I thought it was the best part of the book.

    @Andye, thank you Mother #2!! Your pretty awesome with all your comments. (:

    @Amy (mom), Ditto :D

    @Amelia, yes! Thank you, you understand the meaning of critiquing! (:

  16. Lol no review can be right/wrong. All a matter of opinion. Yeah I never read the book but I can sdee how annoying it would be if she's hammering the point in. Good one for being truthful

  17. @Amanda I know Fallen was a little slow but Torment definitely makes up for it :O) It's release day is TODAY! YAY!

  18. Whohoo!!
    I already ordered this and now I want Rage already! lol

  19. @Andye: Thanks for the offer! Unfortaunately my review is in German so I doubt that it would make much sense to post it here ;) And I'm too lazy to translate the whole thing :P

    @Abigaile: I think that explains it better. I thought you meant you were confused about what was going on in the story.


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