Hunger (Riders of the Apocalypse Series)

( 38 )

Overview

"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...

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Overview

"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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In adult author Kessler's YA debut, first in a planned series, 17-year-old Lisa, who makes a half-hearted suicide attempt and is in denial about her anorexia, learns that she has been appointed to the role of "Famine," one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. When Death, unsubtly depicted as Kurt Cobain, gives her the choice between succumbing to him or joining him, Lisa climbs on her black horse and gallops through the night skies, experiencing world hunger in its literal and metaphorical forms. During alternate scenes, she fights with her boyfriend and counts calories with her bulimic friend. Kessler realistically conveys the vicious nature of the girls' eating disorders, providing graphic depictions of their binging, purging, and starvation. However, the paranormal concept often gallops ahead of its supporting framework, muddling rather than addressing the psychological complexity of Lisa's illness. Perceptive readers will recognize that Lisa's most convincing (and painful) moments--her punishing internal monologue as she debates whether to eat a cheese fry and her resentment toward those who try to help her--are solidly anchored in the real world. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR THE RIDERS OF THE APOCALYPSE SERIES
  Praise for Hunger:

An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

* "Realistic and compassionate. . . . the writing is never preachy, and it allows an interesting exploration of both intensely personal food issues and global ones."
SLJ, starred review

"Jackie Morse Kessler does a fine job of taking a critical issue that has been explored in writing no small number of times, and putting a new and thought provoking spin on it. . . . Sheer genius."
New York Journal of Books

"Powerful, fast-paced, hilarious, heart-wrenching. . . . This story will grab the reader and never let go."
Romantic Times Magazine

"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 adore it."
—Rachel Caine, author of The Morganville Vampires

"A fantastic and gripping read that never shies from its difficult subject matter. . . . This book is a knockout."
—A.S. King, author of Everybody See the Ants

Praise for Rage:

A Junior Library Guild Selection

An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

"Rage is raw and real, a truly dark, honest look at self-harm and the teenage psyche. Kessler left me breathless."
—Heather Brewer, author of the New York Times bestselling series, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod

"The elegant mix of dark humor, brilliantly developed characters, and just enough moral threads to lead readers to make their own conclusions is impressive."
Bulletin

"Raw, visceral, pulling no punches, this story strikes home like a razor blade. It’s unforgettable, heart wrenching, and enlightening."
Realms of Fantasy

 

Praise for Loss:

"Kessler blends fantasy, history, humor, and hard reality into a gripping tale."
SLJ

"Jackie Morse Kessler has a keen eye for capturing the awkward uncertainty of adolescence, which she wraps quite deliciously in a coating of mystery, fright, and suspense. Loss is a treat for readers, a one-of-a-kind, twisty turny carnival ride. . . . I loved this book."
—Andrew Smith, author of The Marbury Lens

"Whip-smart and elegant."
—Saundra Mitchell, author of The Vespertine

"Gritty and raw with powerful truths. An addictive read."
—Sophie Jordan New York Times bestselling author of Firelight

Praise for Breath:

A Junior Library Guild Selection 

"A riveting read."
—Kirkus Reviews

"The series is a strong and unique attempt to encourage troubled teens to consider their options and accept the help they need, while exposing all readers to the pain their friends may be experiencing."
—Booklist

ALAN Review - Kirstin Slitt
Lisabeth Lewis is Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Having just lost her best friend to terrible accusations, about to lose her boyfriend, struggling to ignore the Thin voice's whispering, and warring with her hunger daily, Lisabeth is startled to hear Death knocking on her door. What follows after her confused, drug-induced acceptance of his golden scales is a tale of great power and even greater courage. Though Lisabeth's control teeters on a precipice, cloaked all in black while atop her horse, she relishes the immensity of her power as Famine. While Death walks Lisabeth through her journey, War and her vicious red steed lurk around every corner, rousing a battle from which neither the troubled teen, nor Famine, can turn away. Jackie Morse Kessler weaves a story of despair, hope, and unbelievable power through a seventeen-year-old's painful journey with anorexia. Reviewer: Kirstin Slitt
Children's Literature - Kristi Bernard
Lisabeth is a teen like many others. She is daddy's little princess, can never please her mother, is depressed and thinks she's fat. Contemplating suicide, she grabs a bottle of her mother's anti-depressants. After popping only 3 she is visited by a delivery man who hands her a set of scales and pronounces her Famine. Obsessed with her weight, her daily routine consists of stripping down to weigh and constantly counting every calorie she ingests. Her best friend calls her anorexic and her boyfriend is angry because she doesn't eat. Lisabeth is upset and at risk for loosing them both. Her mother doesn't understand her and her father aware that something is wrong but walks on eggshells. With the sudden appearance of a mystery horse and a visit by death, Lisabeth is given a choice to either finish what she started with the pills or take on the responsibilities of Famine. With that, she must learn to find balance with her new job and for herself, all the while feeling as though it were all a dream. After viewing life through the eyes of Famine in a third world country and what it means to be truly hungry, Lisabeth discovers its power and that she can help take away the pain and agony of hunger. She begins to feel confident and accepts that she is anorexic and needs help. Admitting to her father all the things she is feeling she welcomes the help of a clinic and arrives home after 49 days. Lisabeth chose to live and returns the scales to death. Kessler does a great job of introducing readers to the character Lisabeth. Readers can relate to and understand the thought process of someone with an eating disorder and how it could be overcome with the help of family and friends. Kessler was not real clear on the role of the four horsemen and how they relate to anorexia. For a young adult reader more clarification would have been nice. Reviewer: Kristi Bernard
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Suicidal, anorexic Lisabeth thinks she is hallucinating when Death (who looks a lot like a certain dead grunge rock star) rings her doorbell, hands her a set of scales, and informs her that she is now one of the four riders of the Apocalypse—Famine, specifically. When ignoring the scales and the giant war horse grazing in the front yard doesn't work, Lisabeth takes up the mantle of Famine and rides out to areas marked by the excess of gluttony and decimated by starvation. It's not long before she learns how to spread hunger and discord, and maybe even how to balance the scales in the areas of the worst suffering. She meets fellow riders—War, who encourages her destructive tendencies, and Pestilence, who councils her to find balance because, "Well, if everyone dies, I'd be out a job, wouldn't I?" At the heart of this slim novel is a teen struggling with serious food issues, and the storytelling is both realistic and compassionate. If the metaphor of an anorexic as Famine is obvious, the writing is never preachy, and it allows an interesting exploration of both intensely personal food issues and global ones. This book has an excellent hook and is short enough to recommend to reluctant readers.—Caroline Tesauro, Radford Public Library, VA
Kirkus Reviews
After a half-hearted suicide attempt, anorexic teen Lisabeth Lewis inherits the responsibilities of Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in this book of revelations and Revelations. Lisa is a typical self-harming protagonist, complete with a cruel internal voice, a mental calorie calculator, a perfect, absent mother and an oblivious, alcoholic and hen-pecked father. In serving as Famine—and exploring alternate and unexpected uses of her new power—Lisa witnesses true hunger and gains some much-needed perspective on her problems. Told through Lisa's scalpel-sharp voice, her transparent thoughts and roiling emotions lend the familiar matter a feverish, impressionistic quality. Like her friends, the other Horsemen never emerge as fully fleshed characters: Pestilence makes a cameo, War rattles her saber and Death (in the guise of a dead grunge star) makes enigmatic statements (though Famine's Horse has an appealing and distinct personality). Adult author Kessler's concept and characters may not be wholly original, as she indicates in her author's note, but her ear for dialogue, fluid prose and dark humor elevate this brief novel above other "issue books." (eating-disorder resources) (Fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780606247191
  • Publisher: San Val, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/18/2010
  • Series: Riders of the Apocalypse Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: THIS EDITION IS INTENDED FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY
  • Pages: 177
  • Sales rank: 633,441
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jackie Morse Kessler is the author of the the Riders of the Apocalypse quartet for teen readers, along with several paranormal and dark fantasy books for adults. She lives in upstate New York. Visit her website at www.jackiemorsekessler.com .

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Lisabeth Lewis didn’t mean to become Famine. She had a love affair with food, and she’d never liked horses (never mind the time she asked for a pony when she was eight; that was just a girl thing). If she’d been asked which Horseman of the Apocalypse she would most likely be, she would have probably replied, "War." And if you’d heard her and her boyfriend, James, fighting, you would have agreed. Lisa wasn’t a Famine person, despite the eating disorder.

And yet there she was, Lisabeth Lewis, seventeen and no longer thinking about killing herself, holding the Scales of office. Famine, apparently, had scales—an old-fashioned balancing device made of brass or bronze or some other metal. What she was supposed to do with the Scales, she had no idea. Then again, the whole "Thou art the Black Rider; go thee out unto the world" thing hadn’t really sunk in yet.

Alone in her bedroom, Lisa sat on her canopied bed with its overflowing pink and white ruffles, and she stared at the metal balance, wondering what, exactly, she’d promised the pale man in the messenger’s uniform. Or had it been a robe? Frowning, she tried to picture the delivery man who’d just left—but the more she grasped for it, the more slippery his image became until Lisa was left with the impression of a person painted in careless watercolors.

Maybe the Lexapro was messing with her.

Yeah, she thought, putting the Scales on her nightstand, next to a half-empty glass of water (which rested on a coaster) and a pile of white pills (which did not), I’m high as a freaking kite.

And you’re fat, lamented the negative voice, the Thin voice, Lisa’s best friend and worst critic, the one that whispered to her in her sleep and haunted her when she was awake.

High and fat, Lisa amended. But at least I’m not depressed.

Or dead; the delivery man had rung the doorbell before Lisa could swallow more than three of her mother’s antidepressants. Bundled in her white terry cloth bathrobe over her baggy flannel pajamas, Lisa had answered the door and accepted the parcel.

"For thee," the pale man had said. "Thou art Famine."

And once Lisa had opened the oddly shaped package, all thoughts of suicide had drifted away. Thanks to the pills, that was sort of the way she was feeling now, as if she were drifting— drifting slowly like a cloud in the summertime sky, a cloud shaped like a set of old-fashioned scales . . .

The pills.

Pulling her gaze from the Scales, Lisa scooped the pills into her nightstand drawer. She wiped away the stray trails of powder, brushed off her hands, and gently closed the drawer. It wasn’t as if she had to worry whether her mom would notice that her stash of bliss had been depleted; Mrs. Simon Lewis was off at some charity event or another, accepting some award or another. Lisa just didn’t want to leave a mess. Even if she had overdosed, as she had originally planned, she would have died neatly in her own bed. Lisa tried her best to be considerate.

She frowned at the Scales. Dappled in moonlight there on her nightstand, they gleamed enticingly. Lisa couldn’t decide if they looked ominous or merely cheesy.

Cheddar cheese, one ounce, the Thin voice announced. One hundred fourteen point three calories. Nine point four grams of fat. Forty minutes on the exercise bike.

And behind that, the pale man’s words burned in Lisa’s mind: "Thou art Famine."

Uh-huh. Right.

Famine having a set of old-fashioned scales, Lisa decided, was stupid. The only scales that mattered were the digital sort, the ones that also displayed your body mass index.

Lisa yawned. Her head was fuzzy, and everything seemed pleasantly blurred, soft around the edges. It was peaceful. She thought about closing her window shade, but she decided she liked the moonlight shining on the Scales—sort of a celestial spotlight.

You’re loopy, she scolded herself. Hallucinating. Get some sleep, Lisa.

She settled down on her bed, pulling the princess pink covers around her to fend off the chill. Lately, she was always cold—and hungry. Although she enjoyed the feeling of hunger, she hated it when her body shivered. Whenever she forced her body to stop shivering, it made her teeth chatter. And when she forced her teeth to clamp shut, her body shivered. It was a physical conspiracy.

Lisa gripped the blankets tightly and started thinking about the homemade cookies she’d make for Tammy tomorrow. As she imagined the smell of chocolate chips, she calmed down. Baking was soothing. And Tammy was a fiend for Lisa’s baking. James was, too, but he always acted hurt when she wouldn’t taste any of the sweets she made for him.

Snuggled like a baby, Lisa stared at the object on her nightstand. Backlit by the moon, the Scales seemed to wink at her.

"Thou art Famine."

She let out a bemused laugh. Famine. Really. She would have made a much better War.

Smiling, Lisa closed her eyes.

***

The black horse was in the garden directly beneath Lisa’s window, invisible, waiting for its mistress to climb atop its back and go places she had never imagined—the smoke-filled dance clubs of Lagos, dripping with wealth and hedonism; the opulent world of Monte Carlo, oozing with indulgence; the streets of New Orleans, filled with its dizzying smells and succulent foods. In particular, the horse had a fondness for Nola’s sweet pralines.

Perhaps they would go to Louisiana first—perhaps even tonight.

The black horse snorted and pawed the grass, chiding itself in the way that horses do. So what that it wished to move, to fly, to soar across the world and feast? It was a good steed; it would wait forever, if needed, until its mistress was ready to ride.

It wasn’t the horse’s fault that it was impatient; the rhododendrons in the garden couldn’t mask the cloying odor of rot, which made the horse’s large nostrils flare. Death had come and gone, but its scent had left its impression on the land, in the air.

Death was scary. The horse much preferred the smell of sugar. Or pralines.

The black horse waited, and Lisabeth Lewis, the new incarnation of Famine, dreamed of fields of dust.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 38 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by LadyJay for Teens Read Too

    Lisa can never escape the thin voice. It screeches and tears at her - telling her how fat she is; counting the calories in one chocolate chip cookie; calculating the number of minutes on the exercise bike. No matter how thin she is, it's never enough. Lisa's anorexia spirals out of control; she swallows a handful of her mother's antidepressants. That's when Death comes for her. He doesn't want her soul - not just yet. Instead, he bequeaths a gift. Lisa will now embody one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - she will become Famine. Midnight, her black steed, whisks her away to lands that are ravaged by hunger. She is witness to great suffering and pain. Through all of this, Lisa discovers that possessing Famine can do incredible harm as well as good. She learns how to sustain life, and in return, that inspires her own will to live. I was amazed by the premise of HUNGER. What a creative and thought-provoking way of looking at eating disorders. Kessler handles the subject matter with incredible care, without preaching or lecturing to the reader. I believe that this novel will truly resonate with some teens. I know it did with me.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2010

    How Hungry are you?

    I had never read a book about the four horsemen before, so I was really excited to start this one. It's a fresh face in the paranormal monster world (at least for me), and I'm always on the look-out for something new. I really liked the premise of it. I think Death was definitely my favorite horsemen. He was funny and really put a fun spin on the concept of death.

    I think it was great that Jackie Kessler managed to take a fun paranormal read and center it around the very important issue of eating disorders. I think it's so important that teens find books that they can relate to, that help them through tough situations in their lives. Eating Disorders are everywhere these days, and yet you still don't hear people talking about them much.

    I liked Lisabeth's character. I found her hard to relate to sometimes, but I think that was because she was struggling with herself so much in the book. She had a hard time relating to herself. The eating disorder was eating her.

    Overall, this was a great new addition to the YA world and the paranormal world and I'm really looking forward to reading Rage, the next Horseman book!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Different

    http://scholarberry.blogspot.com/

    "But the Thin voice saved her.
    Hershey's Kisses, it whispered. Twenty-five calories each."

    Jackie Morse Kessler's debut novel is spectacular.

    Lisabeth Lewis, the main character of Hunger has a boyfriend. Maybe it's something about being a couple; all of a sudden you care more about other people's opinions on appearance.

    Lisa loved food--she used to go with James (her current boyfriend) and Suzanne (her ex-best friend) into Joe's Diner and eat normally like everybody else.

    Then the Thin voice appeared, telling her that she's fat fat fat and that she needs to lose weight. As if her perfect and insanely critical mother hasn't stop complaining yet.

    When she lost 10 pounds just like her mother wished, her mom complained about her skin complexion or et cetera.

    Then she had a dream. Maybe a nightmare, because the sexy Death came for her. She was appointed to be Famine, because Lisa tried to kill herself. Death was merciful. Death was kind. Death was sexy.

    She was anorexic herself, and she's trying to help people to counter famine. She encountered War, who really wants to get rid of her. But despite the fear she has for War, her betraying friends who doesn't understand, her strange boyfriend and her uncaring parents, she got to ride Midnight, her black horse.

    Hunger is about life and death, supporting family and friends, finding yourself and losing yourself.

    What I like about the book: It was funny and sophisticated, realistic and also different. Lisa's mind was filled with conflict, hence, interesting. Death's characteristic was also hilarious, switching back and forth from old English to rocker style. :D I definitely enjoy this book.

    What I dislike about the book: The beginning was a bit slow and dragged to me, but I kept reading and I loved it!

    http://scholarberry.blogspot.com/

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler Review

    The best way I can describe this book is by saying that this was a very difficult and tough read. I enjoyed the spin Jackie Morse Kessler used in Hunger, giving Lisa the job responsibilities of Famine, but underneath this, no reader will be able to forget that there is a very serious issue at stake. Kessler allowed readers to be passengers along for the ride during Lisa's struggle with her eating disorder and the consequences that have been the result of her actions.

    I'm not sure what I was expecting from this novel, but I enjoyed reading it (or at least as much as one can) with a topic as heartbreaking as this one. I found myself feeling extremely naive and ignorant when presented with some of the information presented to me in Hunger. I know this is a work of fiction, but Kessler does say in her acknowledgments at the end of the book that although this is a work of fiction, she makes it clear that this situation and many like it are not make believe. Many people out there suffer from these diseases and so many need help and assistance from people they can trust. I will say that as informative as this was for me, there was one point about half-way through that after reading I was not sure I'd be able to make it to the end. It was an incredibly vivid and emotional scene and it was devastating to witness/read. So I took a break but then decided that I couldn't let myself put this book aside forever, so I kept reading.

    I think Kessler has a wonderful writing technique and is doing a great and very brave thing by not only writing this novel and putting it out there, but for trying to reach people through Hunger, in order to help educate everyone with this story. There is help out there for those individuals with eating disorders and hopefully they'll be able to see there is light at the end of the tunnel, and help for those who want and need it. For people like me, I was humbled after reading this book because of my ignorance on these issues and problems, and I'm thankful to have had the chance to read Kessler's work. I look forward to reading more of her work and can only hope that her voice reaches far and wide with Hunger.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it!

    really hard-sad-happy-tear-filled story...
    I started this book not so sure if I would be able to enjoy it let alone finish it. But ended up so captured in the story of Lisa that I couldn't decide wether to laugh or be mad at her.
    She struggles definitely completely fights with herself to be THIN!!ugh!!
    the way Kessler put this story into words left me wondering if there could be an answer to all of our problems that could be that simple and yet because of its simpleness we don't see it 'cause we're always thinking that the answer to all of our problems have to be BY FACT difficult and hard to reach.
    So seeing this girl fighting with anorexia thinking that it's her againts the world, that she alone has the BIGGEST problem of the universe, realize that when she is neglecting herself to EAT to be HEALTHY there are people all around the world dying for that pice of lettuce she just threw up...
    A really down-to-earth yet magic-filled story of anorexia and the hardships that it brings when settled on a person's daily life.
    Kessler not just approaches anorexia but hunger at the same time...completely filling and giving meaning to the tittle of the book!!
    A MOST READ IF YOU ARE NOT OUT OF YOUR MIND!
    5/5

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Read this!

    "Thou art famine, yo." With a line like that who could not like this book? This book was awesome. Had me hooked from the very beginning. The only things that disappointed me was the fact the it was short. I wished the story had a little bit more for me to bite on. But bite me it did!

    Lisa is a teenage girl suffering from anorexia. She struggles with a voice in her head all the time telling her she is fat, weak and ugly. Lisa is on the verge of death if she does not stop what she is doing. One day feeling depressed Lisa begin taking pills and has a strange dream. A man in a robe came to her and told her she was famine. She thought it was a dream until the scales of famine appeared in front of her.

    Lisa meets Death. A wildly handsome boy who tells her that she is indeed famine and she needs to "go thee out unto the world" doing her duty as famine. Famine meets War and war it is. Famine and War do not get along. War nicknames her mouse for being something to so week and bony. Finally in the end, Lisa finds her strength as Famine and fights with War.

    Jackie did an magnificent job writing this book. The plot was something out of this world. Her writing... the way she wrote those hard scenes was amazing. She did a great job giving the reader a great insight to the world of famine, hunger, disease. I love how she was able to bring paranormal with something real together and create something exciting. Her story is a amazing read. This is a story that I can read over and over again. and that I would recommend you read. When I was reading this, I was so excited and enticed that I could not put this down. I felt for Lisa in every struggle that she had.


    You need to read this book. When you read this, it will submerged you into the world of anorexia in a way you never saw. You will see the hardships, the lies, the pain, the voices, that the person goes through. Even though this book is paranormal, it was very informative in anorexia.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2013

    I really liked this book. In fact, I think it should be added to

    I really liked this book. In fact, I think it should be added to the required reading list for high schools across the country.
    It's not a preachy book by any means, but it does very well at showing the awful downsides that accompany anorexia.Interwoven with this very real look at a serious disorder is a moving tale of a troubled young girl recruited to become Hunger - one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. 
    I found the characters to be very relatable and the prose to be both simple and yet powerful in getting its point across.
    I highly recommend this book to everyone, it's a quick read and totally worth it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2013

    Absolutely riveting

    This book was very well written and spoke to the soul. Going straight to the heart of eating disorders. Just graphic enough. Highly recommend this anf the rest of the books in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    I really enjoyed this book. It took a serious subject and brough

    I really enjoyed this book. It took a serious subject and brought it to your attention while it also sprinkled in some sci-fi entertainment. You get to see and experience the life of someone struggling with an eating disorder, which, unless you have ever gone through this or had a family member suffer with this, you would really never know what goes on in their minds. I love the way Ms. Kessler spins the tale of the Four Horsemen into this story. This is how our main character battles her eating disorder and becomes at peace with herself. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2013

    I really loved this book. It is completely different from anythi

    I really loved this book. It is completely different from anything I had ever read before and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would highly recommend this book to YA and adult readers alike!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2012

    Is it good

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2012

    Substandard ending but still recommended

    This book started off pretty strong. I’ve never really given much thought to the inner thoughts of individuals with eating disorders. Hunger brought a new awareness to me and in many ways touched home. Despite being surrounded by individuals who loved her, she still felt unworthy because of her appearance. I’ve stood in the mirror many times prodding my growing, squishy belly, wondering if my husband still finds me attractive… loves me as much as when we first met. High scores for the beginning. Not sure how spoiler-like the rest of this review is, so I’ll give you the warning now. Toward the middle of the book, Lisa stepped into her horseman role–Famine. I think this aspect of the book missed the mark. When I think of famine, a shortage of food in an area comes to mind. In Hunger, the meaning of famine was blurred to resemble greed more than anything as she turned her anger toward individuals who ate freely or in excess–punishing them because they didn’t have the hangups about food like she did. I’m really into paranormal, but the further I progressed into the book, the less realistic it became. The mystical aspects reached a point where I stopped believing a supernatural world like the one described existing. Then I reached the ending–a chance to bring it full circle to Lisa’s issues of anorexia–and the author blew it. This work was a novella, but it really needed a bit more on the back end to have nailed it. For an issue as deep as anorexia, I really would have liked it to be worked out on paper rather than brushed under the rug with the idea she got the help she needed. Recommendation: Despite the ending being substandard, I’d still recommend this work to anyone who has looked in the mirror and wished the reflection hosted an image other than what’s there.

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  • Posted April 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I struggle with what to rate this because although I did like it

    I struggle with what to rate this because although I did like it, I also had a few problems with it. For starters I found Lisa to be an extremely hard character to like, until about half way through the book. I understand that Lisa suffers from a very serious disease, and I did feel sympathetic towards her but also a bit angry, as she kept pushing people away. I also couldn't understand how Lisa's dad never realized that she was sick and needed help.

    I did enjoyed the relationship between Lisa and her steed though and I liked how her affection for the horse brought out a strength in her that she hadn't possessed before. I also really liked how we got to see things from the Black Horse's POV. It certainly added a very unique perspective to the story.

    Death was by far my favorite character, he's funny yet stoic. He's also the best of the horseman, but then again, I don't think enough time was spent with the other horseman. I did appreciate that War was portrayed as a women, since so often War is blamed on men. The novel was very short and often moved to quickly. I felt like I had just started to dig into it and then it was over.

    At no time during the novel are eating disorders ever glamorized. Jackie Morse Kessler uses her own past experience with bulimia to help tell the story of Lisa and what she's physically and mentally going through. I find it extremely brave to share such a personal thing about yourself with complete strangers, and although Lisa is not based on Jackie, she is very loosely based on one of Jackie's friends.

    I commend Kessler on her originality, but I think I expected more to the supernatural side of the story. I do think the novel's worth checking out though, especially if you've ever suffered from or know someone struggling with an eating disorder.

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  • Posted June 30, 2011

    Blah

    This book was a little shy of ok. It was very short which doesn't automatically make it bad, but there was little substance to it. I still have huge questions, but I don't know if I would be willing to read more

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  • Posted February 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Powerful & Honest Without Being Overwhelming

    4.5

    Lisabeth Lewis' life as an anorexic girl in denial, slowly killing herself, could have easily made Hunger and issues book, but it's so much more than that. Kessler's writing is haunting and terrifying in its blunt telling, yet entertaining at the same time. Although short in length, the book packs quite a punch. Kessler makes the reader think, feel, and hurt with Lisa. We know the depths of her hunger and how that little voice inside her head is beating her down.

    And it is so sad that anyone ever feels that way. Because they shouldn't. We shouldn't. Yet we do.

    Lisa's role as Famine leads her to learn more about that voice in her head, about the hunger that plagues the world, and about how to fight for life. All this can be heavy and some of the descriptions even made me nauseas, but I loved the book nonetheless. Kessler writing is raw, but beautiful at the same time. She grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you until you wake up and pay attention - that's how jarring some scenes are.

    Heavier moments are broken by the other Horsemen, War, Pestilence, and Death. War brings attitude, Death brings such morbid humor, and Pestilence becomes quite the teacher. I've read many reviews that gush about Death, but it was Pestilence who glued me to the page. His scene, while not funny like many of Death's appearances, made me think.

    Hunger is a great book, no doubt about that. Difficult to read at times? Yes. Entertaining? Yes. But more than anything else, it's the message behind the story of Famine that got to me. I implore you to read this book, but don't stop there. Devour it, soak it in, and read the author's note because even though the 174 pages of fiction got to me, it was the author's note that tied it all up and hit me the hardest.

    Opening line: Lisabeth Lewis didn't mean to become Famine. ~ pg. 1

    Favorite lines: "Thou art Famine, yo," Death said. "Time to make with the starvation." ~pg. 49

    And another one:

    This wasn't incessant appetite or some internal appeal to be fed that she could ignore. This was a tortured beast bellowing, scrabbling toward either survival or surrender.
    This was unbearable. ~ pg. 97

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  • Posted January 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Read

    Having heard about this book starting this summer at Romantic Times, I was very interested in reading it. Being a comic book fan from way back, I had seen an anorexic girl as Famine before, but in a novel format I was expecting it to be a lot more involved. Any of you who read back into the X-Men vault for their use of Famine would agree that it was nearly possible to not even catch the girl in question was anorexic.

    In Hunger we as readers ride along in Lisabeth's head. You hear her Thin Voice, you watch as she counts calories and equates them to time on the exercise bike. You watch as her friend goes through the very clinical steps to binging on food. This very raw view of the eating disorders makes it an uncomfortable book to read in spots. Not that this slowed me down, but it made characters in very fantastical situations very real.

    Additionally, the ending of it left you with a message of hope. It is hard to state the reasoning behind this without spoiling any of the story. Just know that it does not leave you with thinking there is anything that is good about having an eating disorder. The author makes that abundantly clear in her end notes at the back of the book which include contact information to get help if you are suffering from an eating disorder.

    While a being a bit raw and difficult of a story to watch unfold, it was also something I couldn't look away from. It takes a very hard lesson to learn and puts it out there plainly, something that could very well give thoughts to those in similar situations. Even if you have not gone through their trials, it is definitely a book that gets you thinking. One of the better books I have read recently.

    I would rank it around a 4 stars out of 5. It likely could be even higher, but I am still torn on the ending. Of course that just goes to show I am still thinking about it.

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  • Posted December 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Unique and interesting read!

    When I started reading Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler I realized that I haven't read any stories written in the third-person point of view in a long time. Not that I don't like that particular point of view, its just that I haven't read from that POV in a while. I don't prefer a specific POV over the others, but it was nice for a change.

    The concept of the story was different too. Hunger, the first in a trilogy (I believe), focuses on anorexia. Although I don't know anyone with this issue, it is a big problem amongst teens. The book doesn't drag on with the main character, Lisa, dealing with her anorexic problems. Kessler weaves an interesting, though short, story about seventeen year old Lisa Lewis becoming Famine. She doesn't use her new power to destroy people's lives, however, she uses it to destroy hunger and help people in distant parts of the world. Overall, Hunger is a very unique and interesting read.

    I love the cover, its what drew me to read the book. The Scales on the cover represent Lisa's symbol of office as Famine. The ending was sweet, and in the author's note, Kessler tells us a little bit about her own experience with Bulimia years ago. She also mentions that if you happen to purchase a copy of Hunger, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association).

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  • Posted November 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not as good as it could have been

    I wanted to like this book more than I did. The major complaint I had about it was its length because it felt extremely rushed. The good part about the book though is the message that it delivers, and I consider the way in which it does this to be completely original. I still feel that it could have been so much better, but this will not stop me from picking up the next in the series since I enjoyed it, no matter how rushed it felt.

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  • Posted September 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    review taken from One Book At A Time http://onebooktime.blogspot.com

    I have to admit this book was completely original. I loved how the author has taken a biblical reference and made it into something modern. All 4 of the horseman are included in this book, but we only get a real look at Famine (although Death plays a pretty good role as well). By the end of the book I truly wondered if Death choose Lizabeth as Famine because she was anorexic. It was a way to help her see past her problem and see people who were really hunger. I think it helped put her eating disorder in perspective. I liked how the supernatural played into this story. Horses that no one can see, traveling huge distance in the blink of an eye, and the awesome power to create hunger. I thought it was impressive that Lizabeth managed to find away to use her power for good. In turn I thought this created an awesome showdown with War. I was impressed with how the author handled the delicate issue of an easting disorder. It showed Lizabeth vulnerable. I liked how the author was able to show that even those who you think are total control of themselves are likely putting on a show. And sometimes, the ones who care about you the most are saying something you don't want to hear.

    So, why the 3 butterflies? There's two main reasons. First, I really think the book could have been longer. At under 200 pages, I just wasn't satisfied. I know everything ties up nicely, but I wanted more. I think the author could have expanded on some things. Second, I hate nitpicking, but when something still stands out in my mind 2 weeks after I read the book, I have to mention it. I dislike talk about bodily functions. There's a passage describing Lizabeth's struggle to have bowel movement. Now maybe this is a real problem with eating disorders, but I just didn't like the way the author presented it. And, it didn't add to the story. There's also a part with a very detailed description of Lizabeth's friend and her bulimia. While, I do think this helped show something important to Lizabeth, it was just really hard to read (I think this might be partly due to my own aversion to throw-up).

    I will be continuing this series though. The author has something to offer her and I want to see were the series goes!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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