"Funny, sweet, utterly heart-wrenching." —Entertainment Weekly
The New York Times bestseller from the critically acclaimed author of Mosquitoland
Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.
This is a story about:
1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.
About the Author
David Arnold lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his (lovely) wife and (boisterous) son. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland, and his books have been translated into over a dozen languages. Previous jobs include freelance musician/producer, stay-at-home dad, and preschool teacher. David is a fierce believer in the power of kindness and community. And pesto. He believes fiercely in pesto.
You can learn more at davidarnoldbooks.com and follow him on Twitter @roofbeam.
Read an Excerpt
Excerpted from "Kids of Appetite"
Copyright © 2017 David Arnold.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a super racehorse of a book. First, let me talk about the Kids of Appetite (who lived, laughed, & saw that it was good). Baz – the kindest, gentlest soul, the surrogate father to the other characters. Baz, who won’t eat bread or drink sodas, who will write a book and run a cab business with his brother, Zuz. Zuz – the Journey fan who speaks with finger-snaps. Zuz, who dances and listens to Journey and helps Coco write songs. Coco – the eleven-year-old containing multitudes, too big and brave for her tiny body. Coco, who adores ice cream and cursing and antagonizing Mad. Mad – the protagonist with the punk haircut and the broken home. Mad, who will never put down “The Outsiders” or stop returning to what’s left of her home. Mad, who meets Vic first. Vic – the main protagonist with Moebius syndrome and a mission to scatter his father’s ashes the way his father wanted. Vic, who misses everything about his dad, who doesn’t recognize his home anymore. David Arnold expertly keeps the story flowing and the suspense up by beginning the chapters with Mad or Vic in interrogation rooms. Why? What happened? What got them here? What does stalling accomplish? Another technique he uses is character secrets. Why won’t Baz eat bread or drink soda? Why doesn’t Zuz talk? What happened to these boys? Where are Coco’s parents? Who killed Mad’s uncle? Both plot threads (Vic’s mission, Mad’s uncle’s murder) don’t so much interweave as they coexist alongside, blending purpose and suspense. Both are resolved in their own time and own ways, not exactly happily. There is thick conflict between every character, which is also resolved. Once again, not exactly happily. Every word in this book means something. As one reads further, one sees that Mad and Vic’s stalling holds something behind it. Secret meanings only they and the readers will get. Of course, it wouldn’t be a David Arnold book without multiple, deeply meaningful symbols, which include but are not limited to: Super racehorses. Simultaneous extreme opposites. Very literal places. Deck guns of USS Lings. Heart-thinkers. Old-new. Tiny paths going nowhere. The colors that aren’t there. Soaring sopranos. These would have no meaning anywhere else but this book. They don’t let go of one until the very end. And if I get started on the prose, the beautiful flow and beat of each and every word, the definitive rhythm David Arnold masters, then I may as well copy the whole book down here. But that’s illegal. I won’t do that.
Read his other book mosquitoland! Execllent book
Kids of Appetite is set in mid-December 2015 in Hackensack and New Milford, two small towns in New Jersey near New York City. 16 Year Old Vic Benucci is still trying to process the loss of his father, who died nearly two years ago because of cancer. His mother has been dating Frank, who she met at a support group after her husband’s death. Vic has trouble warming up to Frank, especially since Frank’s sons go out of their way to be cruel to him. When Frank proposes to Vic’s mom over dinner, Vic flees the house and takes his father’s urn with him. Inside the urn, he finds a handwritten letter from his father detailing where he wants his remains to be scattered. Along the journey to complete his father’s list, Vic runs into a group of friends who take him in. Baz, Zuz, Coco and Mad help Vic complete the list and help him learn what true friendship feels like. All of them have suffered in one way or another, which is part of what brings them together. In the relative safety and comfort of Greenhouse Eleven, they find love and support in their makeshift family. Kids of Appetite is a unique and enjoyable tale about friendship, love, loss, diversity, and coming of age. While sometimes the characters are difficult to relate to, they are well developed with complex back stories that come to light throughout the novel. The ending of the book is beautiful, but left me with a good few questions unanswered. I did very much enjoy this novel and hope to see more from David Arnold in the future. I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for this honest review. For this review and more, please visit my blog at vicariousbookworm.wordpress.com
Good book. Great concept. I loved both Vic and Mad and all the other characters. They were the kind of characters I want as my friends in real life because they're living proof that no matter how hard life gets... you don't give up. The beginning was just so captivating, interestingly strange and wonderful. Now you're probably wondering: "ah... did she accidently rate this book 2 stars? Maybe she meant 4?" Well, yes and no. Thing is, I was so sure this was a 4 stars book for me. I loved the beginning and I was sure I would love the rest of it too. And while I did enjoy the rest of the book as well, it was harder for me to read. Why? too many descriptions of memories, places, characters and sometimes even overall weirdness that didn't make much sense, to be honest. I felt like there were so many American inside jokes and references to places and food and other stuff in the U.S, that an international like me could never understand. I didn't even visit the U.S, let alone lived there. For me, those jokes and references were completely alien. Honestly? Sometimes it felt like I was reading this book in a language I didn't understand but knew exists. The good news: for those of you who live\lived\are familiar with the U.S culture, this book should be just for you (given that you enjoy a good - if strange - contemporary romance). Because despite my rating (which, if we're being technical here, is 2.5 stars), this book is a great deal of wonderful. It's unique, it's interesting and it has great characters (one of which has a rare physical disability). Wow, I don't think I ever talked so positively about a book I rated so low. This book is so not conventional that in a weird way it makes sense. Huh.
I decided to read this book partly because of the amazing cover. Seriously, the cover just screams "read me" to me. It wasn't just the cover that grabbed my interested though. I loved the synopsis and have had the author's debut novel on my TBR since it was released. I am glad that I made the decision to read this book. I actually read the whole book in a day which is unusual these days. The characters really made this a very interesting story. Victor is at the center of the story and he was a very interesting character. He has a rare disease that limits his facial movements but his disease was more of a footnote to the story than anything else. He finds himself becoming a part of a mismatched group of kids. Each of the kids in the group had their own story that added a lot of interest to the book. Victor is especially close to Madeline who is trying to balance a very difficult situation. I really enjoyed how the story was laid out. I think that the opening of them being interrogated worked well. We learn things about the characters bit by bit which really kept my interest high. Victor has a set of goals to accomplish and it was nice watching the group try to solve the clues and make it happen. I thought that as a team this group was incredible. I almost felt like this book was made up of a lot of different stories. Each of the character's backstory was so colorful that they really did tell their own story. It was impressive how everything did come together in the end. I would recommend this book to others. I found it to be an evenly paced read filled with unique characters. This is the first book by David Arnold that I have had a chance to read but I am more eager than ever to pick up his debut novel. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Viking Books for Young Readers via First to Read for the purpose of providing an honest review.
3.5 stars I requested this because I had heard a lot of great things from friends and it was all over IG as well. Even though I wasn't sure it sounded like my sort of thing, I gave it a try. I loved the characters. Vic and Mad and the others are so vivid on the page. The back and forth of the past and present chapters was done in an interesting way. I definitely didn't expect the outcome happening the way it did. And yet, I set it down for days at a time. I wasn't compelled to finish it. Don't get me wrong, it was interesting and I did want to know how it ended. I just didn't see it feel the spark that everyone else who has read it did. **Huge thanks to Viking and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**