Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Title/Author: Hunger (Horsemen of the Apocalypse #1) by Jackie Morse Kessler
Publisher/Date published: Harcourt Graphia, October 18th 2010
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Why I read this book: it's about an anorexic Horseman: Famine. Enough said.

Goodreads summary: "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?"

After trying to commit suicide after a particular nasty fight with her boyfriend, Death gives Lisa a choice: become Famine or die (sounds rather harsh, but it's not). Lisa chooses life and thus to become a Horseman, complete with a black praline-loving steed and Famine's symbol of office: golden scales.

Lisa struggles with her anorexia, although she doesn't recognize it as such, she thinks she's just fat and has her very own Thin Voice to remind her of this. And of the calories everything edible holds and how much time on the exercise bike that accumulates to, to burn it off again. I thought this was so believable! Having no first-hand experience at having an eating disorder, I can imagine something inside whispering these deprecating thoughts.

One thing Lisa also struggles with, is hiding all of this from her boyfriend, best friend and father, the persons she cares about the most. At the start of the book she's already alienated her best friend because she told her to get help for her anorexia. Instead she gets a 'friend' who encourages her in her dysfunctional behaviour towards food: a girl with an eating disorder herself.

Death says things like 'thou art Famine, yo' and has a more than passing resemblance to Kurt Cobain, which is fine, but a bit weird. I did love the black horse, who Lisa names Midnight. The horse is sarcastic and doesn't get all the weird human behaviour. And it loves pralines, so it's my kind of horse.

I felt that what Lisa wanted most was to be in control of herself, not just being thin, but also in other aspects. She hates being bossed around, but doesn't really know what to do about it.
I'm glad that she learns to stand up for herself and that she's not worthless or undeserving of people's attention.

My rating: 4 stars, I'm looking forward to reading the sequel Rage.


  1. I have this one in my queue to read, but I wasn't sure if I should bump it up. All the reviews I've read so far have been positive, so I hope to read it soon. Thanks!

  2. Hi, I loved this book as well. You have a award over at my blog.


  3. I'm so glad you liked this book! I agree with you that the Thin Voice adds a lot reality and weight to her disorder. And the horse was great!

  4. I definitely recommend this book, more so than a lot of others. It's a quick read, but no less powerful for its length. This story is something that will stay with me for a while, and it had me thinking. I love when a novel does that. I can't wait to read the second book, Rage, which is released in April! I give Hunger 5/5 stars. I think this will remain one of my favorite books.
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  5. This book should be on every library shelf - it's the kind of book that can not only stand on its own merits as a terrific tale, but could potentially reach anyone who struggles with anorexia and/or bulimia - to show them the lies inherent in their fight against their own bodies and minds.

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