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Hungry

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Overview

In Thalia’s world, there is no more food and no need for food, as everyone takes medication to ward off hunger. Her parents both work for the company that developed the drugs society consumes to quell any food cravings, and they live a life of privilege as a result. When Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that there is an entire world outside her own. She also starts to feel hunger, and so does the boy. Are the meds no ...

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Hungry

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Overview

In Thalia’s world, there is no more food and no need for food, as everyone takes medication to ward off hunger. Her parents both work for the company that developed the drugs society consumes to quell any food cravings, and they live a life of privilege as a result. When Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that there is an entire world outside her own. She also starts to feel hunger, and so does the boy. Are the meds no longer working?

Together, they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food. It’s a journey that will change everything Thalia thought she knew. But can a "privy" like her ever truly be part of a revolution?

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

One early reader described this book as the real hunger games. Its young main character resides in a world where medication has replaced food and, for that matter, hunger; but for Thalia, her feelings change after she meets a boy who has joined an underground group of rebel food fanciers. A very unconventional dystopian novel.

School Library Journal
05/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Swain's near-futuristic dystopia explodes onto this well-trod genre with a fresh idea, tense plotting, and relatable characters. Earth's resources, ostensibly decimated by wars and superstorms, have vanished, along with any flora and fauna. Mega-corporation One World swoops in to salvage the remaining humans from starvation by altering their DNA so that they no longer experience any pesky hunger pangs. One World also supplies all nutrition through a formulalike substance called Synthamil. In this world in which any type of food is illegal, Thalia, 17, begins to suffer unexplainable spasms in her abdomen. Instead of being shipped off to a "specialist" to eradicate her natural hunger pangs, as was wont to happen, she seeks out the truth behind the hunger and One World's monopoly on food. She teams up with a non-"privy," Basil, who leads her further into the resistance movement than she would have thought possible. Thalia is faced with a decision—do the easy thing or do the right thing, all while battling her genetic "mutation" that makes her mouth water and her stomach growl. From the Inner Loops to the Outer, to the Hinterlands and beyond, Thalia's journey is fast-paced, scientifically plausible, and scarily possible. The mood is tense, curious—but never relaxed. Swain completes a unique tour de force with Hungry, one that requires readers to examine current society, their place within invisible and sometimes all-too-visible hierarchies, and the consequences of genetic engineering. Fans of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (McClelland and Stewart, 1985) and Lois Lowry's The Giver (Houghton Harcourt, 1993) will flock to this story—Amanda C. Buschmann, Atascocita Middle School, Humble, TX
Kirkus Reviews
2014-04-09
An alluring adventure in a future without food.Thalia's grandparents were farmers, but climate change and war have wreaked havoc on food supplies. Now, nobody farms, and nobody eats. Everyone drinks the nutritional beverage Synthamil, provided by megacorporation One World. Regular inoculations containing benzodiazepines and something unexplained that Thalia's mother invented suppress hunger, sexuality and moods. Talking about food—"forno," or food porno—is forbidden. But Thalia's stomach is growling: She's not supposed to be, but she's hungry. Leaving behind her pristine, hologram-landscaped neighborhood, she finds (and falls for) Basil, a boy in the outskirts who's created a machine to generate food aromas. Swain's romantic food descriptions trounce the dryly presented benefits of this society (there's supposedly no starvation or crime, which isn't true but also hardly seems to matter stacked against juicy fantasies of roast chicken and french fries). Thalia's brown-skinned, but privilege here is all about class; being a computer-hacking "privy" herself, Thalia's shocked that an underclass lives in poverty and that desperate people from all classes are so hungry they're eating dirt. Thalia and Basil's activism with underground networks gets them labeled by One World as outlaw terrorists; they run away and stumble into a cultlike secret community that holds disturbing ties to the city. Despite some loose worldbuilding and predictability, this is a page-turner that wants a sequel.Emotionally satisfying dystopia with a generous helping of forno. (Dystopian romance. 14-17)
From the Publisher
"Compelling . . . A female protagonist who isn’t staunch, heroic, and perfect is increasingly rare in dystopias, so Thalia’s fumbling around for the right path is refreshingly different." —BCCB

"Science has eradicated the need for food in Swain’s crowded but compelling dystopia. . . . With solid, transparent writing and timely social commentary, this wild premise works quite well." —Booklist

"An alluring adventure in a future without food . . . Emotionally satisfying dystopia." —Kirkus Reviews

"The sensation-saturated world that Swain describes gives the story fresh interest." —Publishers Weekly

Children's Literature - Susan R. Shaffner
Seventeen-year-old Thalia Apple’s stomach is making strange noises. It is either the fault of her genetic makeup or the components in her Synthamil; but both can be adjusted, especially since her mother is a powerful doctor in the One World government. Though her dad is in charge of computers for One World, Thalia likes doing things the old way—knitting, wearing actual cotton, and preferring face-to-face conversations to computer chats on her Gizmo. Her grandmother tells her about the old days when animals were alive and plants actually grew rather than being computer-generated. When Thalia wanders off in a different part of the city (possibly Chicago), she meets a boy named Basil who can create the smells of foods: Bread! Chicken! Chocolate! She finds herself attracted to Basil; her appetite and her hormones are now faulty. She goes with Basil to a rebel meeting and soon finds herself on the run. She and Basil change their appearances with a gene adjustment. When the media spreads lies about her, they drive away to the hinterlands where they find that kudzu still grows. In the overgrown landscape, they find themselves semi-imprisoned in a commune where stem cells are used to make meat and lactating women are used for milk production. When she and Basil escape, they move to Canada (with a farmer who has actual seeds!) and are hoping for a better life. The disappointingly abrupt ending is similar to Mockingjay’s. Teachers could use Swain’s dystopian novel to make comparisons to “The Hunger Games” trilogy, and there are many situations that could be used to start discussions: the pros and cons to technology, hunger, genetic manipulation, rebellion, and quotes like “You can’t just question authority when it’s convenient. You need to question it all the time.” Reviewer: Susan R. Shaffner; Ages 12 up.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250028297
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  • Publication date: 6/3/2014
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 54,583
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL760L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

H. A. Swain’s previous books for young readers include Me, My Elf and I and Josie Griffin Is Not a Vampire. Hungry is her first novel for teens. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her family.

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Read an Excerpt

PART 1

INNER LOOP

“… comfort me with apples, for I am sick of love.”

—Song of Solomon

“What’s the matter, Thalia?”

I wake up with a jerk. Squinting into the light, I see Mom zip past where I’m sprawled across the couch clutching a pillow to my belly, moaning. I try to clear my head and get my bearings. I’m not under a tree. There is no dirt. I poke myself in the stomach to make sure there’s no hole. When I sit up, my head feels too heavy, so I flop back on the living room couch. My arms feel like spindly strings attached to my shoulders. My legs are wobbly. My belly is concave.

“Why were you in the dark?” Mom asks over the yapping of her personal cyber assistant Gretchen, who runs through today’s junk mail on the main screen.

“Today only…” Gretchen announces.

“No,” says Mom. Bonk, Gretchen deletes the message.

“Save big…” Gretchen says.

“No,” says Mom. Bonk, goes Gretchen.

“Cyber sale!” Gretchen announces.

“Send to Thalia,” Mom commands. Ping!

I roll away from the noise but can’t get comfortable on the stiff couch because the backs of my legs stick to the wipeable surface. I pull the heavy pillow that smells strongly of synthetic citrus cleanser over my head to block out the fracas. I wish I could dive back into my dream and find that thing I was searching for. I inhale deeply, but the biting lemony-lime scent is not the smell I want. The smell I’m after is less pungent. More subtle. Not yellow or green but warm and earthy brown.

Mom’s heels clack against the tile, then she slips a cool dry hand under the pillow and presses against my forehead.

“What are you doing?” I swat her away with the pillow.

“Checking for a fever.”

“You’re a doctor for god’s sake,” I grouse at her. “Why are you touching me?”

Mom crosses her arms and sticks a hip out to the side. She’s all points and angles. “If you had your Gizmo with you, I could read your vitals from over there.” She points across the room. “But since you don’t, I have to do it the old-fashioned way.” She holds up her hand and waves her fingers at me.

“Gross,” I mutter.

Mom snorts. “That’s how doctors used to do it. They even used their hands for surgery.” She makes a sick face at the thought of digging inside someone’s body. “Why are you on the couch in the middle of the day anyway?”

“I just feel…” I try to describe it. “Weird,” I say because there is no one word I can think of.

“Weird is a relative term,” says Mom. “Be specific.”

“Hollow,” I say. I could tell her more. Details like how it starts in my belly. Between my ribs and hips. Above my navel but beneath that springy muscle, the diaphragm, that makes your lungs expand and contract. How it’s a strange yawning feeling, like my insides grew a mouth and that mouth is opening. I push a finger into the spot, but all I can say is, “Empty.”

“Are you achy?” She cocks her head, and her hair shifts like a black cultured Silkese curtain across her narrow shoulders.

I shake my head no, which makes me dizzy for a moment as if my noggin is a balloon tethered above my shoulders.

Mom switches into full-on MD mode, picking up my arm with two fingers at my wrist, checking my pulse.

“Next you’ll cut off my leg with a rusty saw and no anesthesia,” I mutter, uncomfortable in her grip.

“Your historical medical references are hilarious,” she deadpans. “You should work as a reenactor at the Relics. Did you have your Synthamil today?”

“Of course,” I grumble.

“And water? Sixteen ounces of each this morning?”

“God, Mom, yes.”

“Have you urinated?”

“Would you like a specimen?”

“Don’t get smart.” She drops my arm, which flops to the couch. I feel like I’m made of Just-Like-Skin. “Your Synthamil has been precisely calibrated, and if you don’t…”

“Jeez, Mom.” I sit up and hold my head in my hands. “I know. I drank it all and I had water on schedule and I peed. Okay?”

“Well, you’re certainly grouchy,” she mutters.

I glare at her through my fingers as she clacks away and returns gently shaking a bottle of blue Synthamil with my name embossed in gold across the label. “Maybe we need to recalibrate. Your metabolism might have shifted.” She twists off the cap and hands me the liquid. “Maybe you’re having one last growth spurt.”

I roll my eyes at her before I take a swig. “I’m seventeen, not twelve.”

She shrugs. “It’s been known to happen. Sometimes people in their twenties grow a few more inches. Especially when they enter the Procreation Pool and their hormones surge.” She’s off again, clicking through the hall to her home office.

I chug the Synthamil then wipe the back of my hand across my mouth so I don’t have a blue moustache.

Mom returns a few minutes later with a patch and an antiseptic swab. “I’ll monitor you for twenty-four hours and see how everything is looking. Lift up your shirt.”

“I don’t want that on me.”

She tugs at the back of my shirt anyway. “It’s only for a day. It’ll give me more info than just your Gizmo, which you never have with you anyway.” She manages to expose my lower back. The swab is so cold it makes me jump. “Hold still. You won’t even know it’s there.” She peels the ultrathin two-inch patch off its backing and presses it firmly against my skin, rubbing around all of the edges to make sure it’s good and stuck. Then she takes her Gizmo out of her pocket and establishes a link with the patch.

“Doesn’t have a locator, does it?” I scratch at it.

She swats my hand away. “Don’t pick. You could break a circuit.” She checks the connection then slips her Gizmo into her pocket. “And it’s not an affront to your personal liberty. It only collects internal data.”

“As if that’s not personal?”

Mom’s eyes narrow and she frowns, which makes her look just like her mother.

“That’s your Nguyen face,” I tell her. She gives me the eyebrow. “For real, you look just like Grandma Grace when you’re mad at me.”

For my biology class, we’ve been mapping the genomes of our four grandparents, our parents, and ourselves in order to figure out where our traits come from. I’m convinced there must be a humorless gene that comes straight from my mother’s Vietnamese side because Grandma Grace is the most serious woman I’ve ever met, which is probably why she’s such a good hematologist. There’s nothing funny about blood.

Mom pushes off the couch. “I’d be happy to find a specialist to go over your data and make a recommendation.”

It’s an idle threat and we both know it. Specialists are the last resort, only called in when all the existing science has failed and the only thing left to try is some experimental treatment a doctor is hoping to patent as the latest breakthrough therapy. “As long as it’s Papa Peter,” I say.

This actually makes Mom laugh. She looks like her father when she’s happy, with his broad smile and bright eyes. My whole life, I’ve heard stories about what a gentle and sweet pediatrician he was and how he sacrificed part of his family’s rations for food and medicine to save starving children during the wars. That was a huge point of contention between my hard-nosed grandmother and my bleeding-heart grandfather that almost destroyed their family. My mother says it’s an example of an old-fashioned cultural divide—Asian versus African American. Since Papa’s black, she claims he had a family history of looking out for the most vulnerable. But that never made much sense to me. I think Grandma and Papa are just different sorts of people no matter what their cultural backgrounds may have been.

“Papa Peter’s hugs and stickers won’t recalibrate your Synthamil formula if something’s off,” Mom says as she finishes tidying up the mail, because she can’t stand anything unnecessary junking up our waves. “By the way, Gretchen sent you some VirtuShops,” she tells me. “You need new pants.”

“I have plenty of jeans and skirts.” I get off the couch and tug my miniskirt down around my thighs.

She gives me the eyebrow again. “Thalia, we discussed this. You can’t keep wearing old stuff like that.” She points to my corduroy mini. “What’s it made of, anyway?”

“A vintage natural fiber called cotton, thank you very much.”

She looks to the ceiling as if the solar lights will recharge her patience with me. “I know what cotton is, Thalia. You have an Interpersonal Classroom Meeting this week. You can’t wear Grandma Apple’s old clothes to an ICM. What will your instructors think?”

“Who cares what they think? Anyway, it’s not a real class. More like four hours of product placement combined with a thinly veiled focus group, if you ask me. Not that anyone ever does.”

Mom shakes her head and sighs. “A, that’s not true. And B, your father and I care what your teachers think.”

“Teachers?” I snort.

“Thalia—” she starts, but I cut her off.

“Dad doesn’t mind,” I tell her, and she doesn’t say anything because she knows it’s true. “I’d rather go real-time shopping anyway.”

“Should be called waste-of-time shopping,” Mom says and chuckles at her own dumb joke. “If you don’t like what I put in your box, then design your own.”

“But I don’t know what I want until I see it and touch it.”

She stops what she’s doing to look at me. “Seriously, what century are you from?” This is her favorite question. One she’s asked me since I was little and preferred to look at real books than have tablet time. “But if that’s how you want to do it, fine. Just do it. Get something decent and make a good personal impression.”

“I like the feel of cotton,” I tell her as I sit down to browse my message center on the main screen.

“Chemically, Cottynelle is virtually the same,” she says.

“Virtually,” I reiterate. “But not really.”

“Don’t start.”

“Your clothes are grown from bacteria and yeast in a lab.”

“Enough.” She gives me a warning glance. “Why don’t you let Astrid cull the news for you?” she asks, motioning to how I’m manually going through headlines.

“That would necessitate finding my Gizmo.”

“You don’t know where it is?” She looks at me as if I’m missing an appendage.

“Around here somewhere.”

“You’re as bad as Grandma Apple.”

“How bad am I?” Grandma Apple bops up from the basement, her gray curls bouncing. She carries a ball of string and two pointy sticks.

“Never mind,” says Mom and goes back to her conversation with Gretchen.

“Gizmo,” I mouth to Grandma, who twirls her finger in the air as if to say whoop-de-do.

I snicker, which makes my mom’s back straighten, although she pretends to ignore us as she pockets her Gizmo then announces, “I’m off to the lab again.”

“But it’s Friday,” says Grandma.

Mom glances up. “So?”

“Family time,” Grandma says hopefully, but I see her shoulders slumping in anticipation of defeat.

“Did you schedule it?” Mom asks.

“But Lily, it’s every Friday,” says Grandma.

“Well if you don’t schedule it…” Mom trails off. “It’s not hard, Rebecca.” Mom has a habit of speaking to Grandma as if she’s talking to a small child who doesn’t understand the great big scary Interweb. “Thalia or Max could teach you in two minutes. You just tell your PCA, what’s her name?”

“Annie,” Grandma says dryly.

“Just tell Annie one time to coordinate all our calendars with a repeating event. Then we’ll be synched up, and when Gretchen checks my daily calendar to generate my to-do list…”

“I know how to do it,” Grandma clarifies. “Just seems unnecessary.”

I blink off the main screen. “We can do family night without Mom,” I tell Grandma, hoping to avoid another awkward conversation about family life between the two of them.

Grandma smiles at me, but I see the tiredness around her eyes. “Of course, lovey.” She holds up the ball of string. “I’m going to teach you how to knit.”

I catch the tail end of my mom’s eye roll as she swings her black Silkese jacket around her shoulders. Before she leaves, she says, “Schedule family night. We’ll do it next week.”

“Sure thing,” I call after her, knowing full well that will never happen. “You, me, and Dad?” I ask Grandma after the door wheeshes closed.

“I doubt it,” she says, pointing to the flashing video-message indicator on the main screen with my dad’s network photo.

I accept and Dad pops up on the screen. He’s in his office, slouching at his desk, surrounded by gently buzzing blue walls. “Hey, you guys, sorry I can’t make family night. I’ve got to work late.” Then he sits up tall and smiles. “But wait until you see what we’re working on! It’s almost done and you’ll be the first to have it. Promise.” I close Dad’s message and ask Grandma what she thinks the surprise will be.

“A robotic head for when you’re tired of thinking for yourself.”

“The latest craze,” I tell her. “You should have been a designer.”

“Missed my calling, huh?”

“Oh well, not everyone can change the world one nanoprocessor at a time.”

We both giggle at our stupid jokes, mostly because no one else would appreciate them.

“Let’s go knit,” I say. “With these.” I hold up my hands and wave my fingers like my mom did earlier.

“Subversive,” Grandma says with a chuckle.

*   *   *

Since it’s just the two of us, Grandma Apple and I cozy up in her living room, which is in the basement of our house. I love her place with all the fluffy throw pillows, warm quilts, and soft worn rugs, the old-fashioned wooden furniture, and best of all—the books. Mom can’t stand to come down here. She says all the microbes in the natural fibers make her sneeze. Not that that should surprise anyone. Sometimes I think my mom would rather live in her lab where every surface is smooth, cold, hard, and antibacterial.

I curl up next to my grandma on the sofa with my feet tucked beneath a hand-crocheted blanket her mother made a hundred years ago on their family farm.

“Used to be you could get yarn made out of natural fibers like cotton or wool,” she tells me as she loops the slate-gray string, the same color and texture as her hair, around a knitting needle.

“What’s wool again?” I ask, trying to mimic her motions with my own ball of red yarn and silver needles.

“The hair from sheep. But there were lots of other animals that people used for yarn, too. Goats, alpacas, rabbits. Each one had its own texture, and some of it was so soft and warm, you wouldn’t believe it now. Real yarn was nothing like these synth fibers.” She frowns down at the rows she’s knitting.

“Which did you raise?” I ask.

“Goats,” she tells me for the millionth time, but I can never remember the difference between a goat and a sheep. “Not the woolly one that said baa. The ornery one that would eat anything.” She laughs at some memory I’ll never understand. “But ours ate mostly sweet hay and clover, so their milk was delicious. And the cheese! There was nothing better than fresh goat cheese. Except for warm bread to put it on.” She sighs. “Ahh, the smell of fresh-baked bread. I keep telling your father he should make an app for that! Then I’d have a reason to use my Gizmo.”

I chuckle, then we’re quiet for a few moments while she corrects my yarn. Once I get the hang of the knit stitch, I say, “Tell me about dinner again.”

Grandma draws in a deep breath. “Well,” she says, thinking back. “That was the real family time, you know. Not for everyone, I guess, but in our family, since we were farmers, we wanted to sit down together and enjoy the food we’d raised.”

“That was before the wars.”

“Yes, but even during the wars, we did the best we could from what little we were able to grow, even if it was just bitter greens and a few chicken eggs.”

“And you had lots of people who came to eat with you, right?”

“At first,” she says. “But when things got scarce, like everyone, we hid what we had.”

I shake my head. “I don’t want to hear that part. Tell me about when dinner was good.”

Grandma grins. “Alright.” She lays her knitting in her lap and thinks for a moment with her eyes closed. “I’ll tell you how to make a roasted chicken.”

Grandma takes her time, as if she’s back in a kitchen, preparing each ingredient. She tells me about melting butter in the microwave and pouring it over the chicken. Then sprinkling on salt and pepper and fresh herbs that grew right outside her back door in a little pot filled with rich dark dirt. She explains how her mother put the chicken in a pan with onions and carrots and potatoes dug from her garden, and then stuck it all in the oven for hours, only opening the door to brush the juices over the chicken’s skin every once in a while. I close my eyes when she talks about food, and I try to imagine how it was. My mind drifts and blurs through vague images, but it all fades into words because I have no idea what she’s really talking about. And, to be honest, some of it sounds gross. Like the part about eating something dead.

“The fragrance of that roasting chicken would permeate the whole house, and you knew when it was done the skin would be brown and crispy and the meat would be tender and juicy.”

As she says this, a sound, like a yowling animal trapped beneath my rib cage, roils up from deep inside of me. “Oh my god!” I say, sitting up straight.

Grandma blinks at me.

“That keeps happening,” I tell her. “It’s so embarrassing! It happened the last time I was at a PlugIn with Yaz. Luckily most people had on their Earz so not too many heard. And the ones who did thought it was a weird ringtone.”

Grandma laughs.

“It’s not funny!” I clutch myself around the middle as if that will stop the noise from coming out again. “This doesn’t happen to anyone else I know. Something’s wrong with me. I’m a freak.”

“I don’t know about that,” she says calmly. “It sounds like your stomach is growling.”

I must look horrified as I picture some rampant parasites in my guts, shrieking for blood.

Grandma lays her hand on my leg. “It’s just what used to happen when people were hungry. Our stomachs would growl like that.”

“For god’s sake, don’t tell Mom!” I almost shout. “She would never forgive me.”

Grandma snorts. “Even the best inoculations can’t fight the power of a good roasted chicken!”

“That makes no sense,” I tell her. “I don’t even know what a roasted chicken is.”

“But someplace deep inside, your brain does,” says Grandma. “And my description was so powerful that it woke up the eater in you for a moment. I mean, come on, human beings ate food for hundreds of thousands of years before the inoculations. It’s a normal, natural response, Thalia. Nothing to be ashamed of.”

“Easy for you to say. It’s not happening to you.”

“Oh, you’d be appalled by what noises we used to make when we ate. Burps and gurgles and farts!” she laughs. “Your grandfather Hector could belch his full name after a few beers.”

“Disgusting,” I say.

“Actually, a well-timed, rip-roaring fart could be quite funny, if you ask me.”

I shake my head. “Oh, Grandma.”

“Anyway, Thal, I wouldn’t worry too much about that noise from your tummy,” she says with a wink. “I’m sure it will go away.” She looks down at the square of material I’ve knit. “In the olden days, this would have been called a pot holder.”

“What’d you do with it?” I ask, trying to figure out any use for something so small.

“You used it to pick up hot pots so you didn’t burn your hand.”

“I always forget that food was warm.” I size up the thing in my palm then laugh at how absurd the world must seem to Grandma. “Now it’d have to be a Gizmo holder.”

“What a good idea!” My grandma, ever the resourceful one, takes it from me and folds it in half. “Add a strap and it would be perfect.”

From upstairs, I hear pinging on the main screen. “Ugh,” I groan. “Probably Mom sending more VirtuShops. She thinks I need new pants.”

Grandma frowns. “I love your little skirts and jeans.”

“Of course you do—they were yours.”

“When I wore them, they were just farm-girl clothes, but you have such a wonderful independent sense of style.” The screen pings again. “Could be a message from your dad or a friend,” Grandma says. “You know it’s okay if you bring your Gizmo down here.”

“I like having one place with nothing yapping at me.”

Grandma nods, because more than anyone else, she gets me. Mom says that’s because I’m an old lady at heart, which I take as a compliment.

“I should probably go check it,” I tell her with a sigh.

“That’s fine, sweetie,” says Grandma. “Thanks for doing family time with me.”

“I’ll be back,” I say, but she just smiles down at the long chain of stitches gathering on her lap.

Copyright © 2014 by H. A. Swain

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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 8, 2014

    A dystopian like no other! HUNGRY is fast-paced, original and mi

    A dystopian like no other! HUNGRY is fast-paced, original and mind-blowing! The writing is smooth, unpredictable and surprising... thought provoking at its best!
    First, I'd like to point out that you should definitely not judge a book by its cover, blurb or summary. Everything about this story has a deeper meaning. The author touches upon topics that have been discussed in the news but are taboo to discuss at the dinner table - controlling governments, corporate greed, and hidden poverty. I applaud her efforts for combining these topics into a young adult novel.
    Thalia Apple lives in a futuristic world where everything is completely computerized and food doesn't exist. Everyone drinks a 'formula' that fits their own needs, some water and every 6 months gets their shots to suppresses any hunger pains and physical emotions. Physical contact of any sort is almost unheard of, and speaking of things about the past, especially food, is against the law. Why reminisce about the past, a past that cannot be changed or revisited, it's too depressing to even think of pre-war days especially when "One World" has progressed so much and haves everything that you can ever want and more for your future needs. That is until Thalia starts to hear this growling noise coming from her midsection, and starts to feel this pressure in her abdomen. Could she possibly be hungry?
    Let's backtrack a bit... Thalia is a teen surrounded by amazing technology that most tech-geeks dream about inventing. And yet, she is completely unamused and rather go sit with her grandmother, learn how to knit by hand and talk about how her grandparents where apple farmers prior to the war. It was a bit hard to believe how a teen was not interested in such a prominent technology filled world - she prefers actual fabrics and books than synthetic fibers and tablets. But later on we learn that she's a computer whiz, a hacker and that the technology seems boring to her. She's curious about how things were, how humans survived without such technological advances... how humans did things by hand, and even used the bathroom. And when she realizes that what she's feeling is legitimately what humans are suppose to feel - it's human nature to want to eat, be with other peers, share feelings, experience emotions, etc. She is convinced that something isn't right with the world and is determined to figure out a way out of the system, the truth that is being hidden and live a normal pre-war life.
    I must emphasize, the story is fast-paced and with all the sci-fi to it, the story can get a bit confusing at times. I had to concentrate and follow these characters like my life depended on it. Quite thrilling...
     A part of the story that I find that may be troubling for some people will be the 'love story' between Thalia and Basil. At first, I couldn't understand the quick ups and downs between the two, the insta-love. One minute that are so in love and then the next, they are angry at each other; so angry, that they walk away from each other a few times, and it seemed, always at the wrong time, to later come back and be madly into each other again. However, after much thought, I remembered that Thalia's emotions and hormones are emerging from the lack of the inoculation shots that she was suppose to receive prior to her running away. A teen goes through so much by just being a teen, and has many feelings and mood swings. A lot of those feeling have been felt since birth, etc. But Thalia's emotions have been suppressed since early childhood. Every little thing is new to her; especially when there's a teen boy involved. I now understand why the insta-love/hate-connection between Thalia and Basil. And why they need each other so much. After finishing the book, and re-reading the epilogue, their relationship completely makes sense. It just take a thoughtful minute or two to comprehend it.
    If you're looking for something out of your comfort zone, this is your gem. Dystopian-lovers, you will definitely find this book very interesting. The book ends in a really good place, with a slight cliff-hanger. Enough to leave you wanting more... I hope to see more of Thalia and Basil - in a new world, more mature, and hopefully, not hungry.
    And just as a side-note, the thought of having the extra time to not have to worry about eating, cooking meals and using the bathroom sounds amazing! Remember, we spend a 1/4 of our lives in the bathroom! I rather use that time to read more! lol

    23 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    2.5 rounded up     I wanted to read this one because I love the

    2.5 rounded up
        I wanted to read this one because I love the premise of the technology taking us this far, and how not having to eat would really impact society. I wanted to know why it didn't work for some people and was intrigued by the boy and his society that she will undoubtedly be drawn into. 
        Thalia was a great character to read about, I connected with her because she seemed on one hand so ordinary but on the other she had this thirst for knowledge. She didn't want to just blindly accept how things are now and not remember the past. Or question how society has set itself up and made people follow because they have the answer for hunger when starvation and food supply dwindled and wars began. 
        While I didn't quite understand how Thalia got around a lot of the government sites and found the underground, it is probably because I don't know how to do much with computers besides blog, check my email and google. So hacker and highly complex gadgets like their gizmos, a device that connected them to the internet and beyond. There were robot like assistants and virtual get togethers. But I do think that the food angle and how things are set up is definitely something original and a new idea out there in ya sci fi and dystopia. 
        But Thalia would rather get her hands dirty, or talk about cooking, eating and the other things that her grandma grew up with. Their relationship really endeared to me because of how close I was with my Grandma, and also just that even generation apart, they got each other. 
        Thalia has an adventurous and fun best friend, who drags her to new experiences and also questions why Thalia doesn't use her gizmo more, and why she was interested in the past. 
        Then there is also Thalia's stomach growling and the discovery of what hunger felt like. It was wild to think that even bodily functions are different in this world of hers, but I can scarily picture it is conceivable that our own future could move towards things that they have going on. Patches that monitor metabolism, heart rate, etc. Gadgets that society can or doesn't want to live without because it is their entertainment. Food and clothing become so artificial. And that the one with the food and the answers to survival could just take over and control everyone, because everyone needs to eat. 
        As far as the setup, I didn't feel that it ever really explored the difference between being hungry and the opposite of being satisfied... Did the metabolism start working differently on certain people? Because knowing how good it used to taste do they get cravings and treated like an addict and put in rehab? Should they not know any different? Could a girl actually be good enough to hack through a system? If there is no food and no animals, no trees, how are they breathing? Mentioned something about the sun being obscured... wouldn't it get too cold? Maybe I just didn't understand the basics, or maybe I should have just sat back and suspended belief on these? 
        I skimmed a little towards the middle, but it really picked up once they were able to get out. What they found though was in some ways even more appalling than what they left, but I can see why that was included because they also learned a lot there. That with power comes responsibility and that you need to be careful what you listen to and remember to think for yourself. 
        I enjoyed the concept, and I liked Thalia for the most part, but I wish it would have been a stand-alone. Unless it is, in which case the ending just needed a bit of tweaking to completely wrap it up and give me more of hope and completion. If there is a second I am wavering if I will read it because I am not sure where they will take the story based on the world building so far. 
       
    Bottom Line: Decent story with original premise. 

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2014

    Entertaining...

    This book is quite a good read. I only decided to read it as a sort of story cleaner from my last read. I doubt this story will linger in my mind, but I do recommend it. A nice, short read.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2014

    Just No

    As a recently turned sixteen year old, I was blessed with several gift cards for my birthday. Color me excited. This was one of the first books I picked out. It was named a little bit too close to Hunger Games but I decided to give the book the benefit of the doubt. However, when I started this book, I found it to be one of the worst teen book I had read so far. It was actually painful for me to read. I struggled through for 25 pages before I finally decided to just go back to the bookstore and return it.
    It was by no means a difficult read. I'd even say that the lack difficulty was what made it so bad. I felt like this was such a clever idea but that it was the author who ultimately failed this excuse for a book. It was essentially a childrens' book with some bigger words and a couple swear words.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 16, 2014

    Imagine a world where food is no longer available, a synthetic c

    Imagine a world where food is no longer available, a synthetic cocktail replaces all nourishment and one gets inoculated to suppress the desire to eat. Add to this that people talk to one another through their electronic gizmos rather than through direct face to face contact, and dystopian society is the word that comes to mind. 

    Unfortunately, although all seem fine on the surface, the discontent of those for whom the inoculations and genetic tampering do not work all the time, as well as a few resistance groups, lurk just under the surface, waiting for the opportunity to start a rebellion. 

    The world building in this book is remarkably imaginative. The depiction of underground organizations like the Dynasaurs and Analogs, as well as how unrest starts and escalates, is highly realistic. 

    I, however, found it difficult to connect with the characters. The main character, Thalia Apple, is torn between loyalty towards her parents and love for Basil. Basil, unfortunately, is in so many minds about so many things, I ended up thinking of him as bipolar. No wonder then that the attempt he and Thalia makes at romance isn't exactly successful at first. 

    There is no shortage of action and suspense in this novel. Apart from a rapidly developing plot and the main characters' romantic interludes, this book accurately portrays the possible downfall of one corrupt power just to let in a new social order that could be an even worse alternative.

    From a synthetically oppressed society through a mostly destroyed world, to a nature-worshipping cult; this book takes the reader on a suspense-laden, highly exciting, and often emotional journey. (Ellen Fritz)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2014

    Delightful

    I really enjoyed this book. Couldn't put it down. I want more!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

    Just Blank

    Its just a bunch of blank pages. I've tried rebooting, and also uninstalled and reinstalled. Don't waste money

    1 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2014

    Thte

    Fgtthhf

    1 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2014

    I am definitely planning on reading this book, even though it so

    I am definitely planning on reading this book, even though it sounds like it's plot is similar to Breathe.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2014

    Hi

    This book was okay, but not as good as i had hoped. The plot was great and (I thought) original. However, i found the characters to be a little dull. Compared to other books i have read, these characers did not seem to have personaluties that stand out or make me want more. I enjoyed the plot of hunger and how in the future there will be no food, but i felt that some of the events in the book were confusing and a little choppy. Overall, it was nice to read out of boredom, but i wouldn't buy it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2014

    U

    H

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2014

    Very well articulated

    Nice

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2014

    Apples

    "Comfort me with apples,for i am sick of love"...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2014

    Zach

    A district 12 boy walks in

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2014

    Highly Recommend - must check it out !!!

    The story is well told and very imaginative. Enjoyed very much, hoping there will be a sequel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2014

    Rrrrrfffv vwrhjkmmoh

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    0 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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