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Hunger (Riders of the Apocalypse) by Jackie…
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Hunger (Riders of the Apocalypse) (edition 2010)

by Jackie Morse Kessler

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3636529,902 (3.6)13
Member:Ellesee
Title:Hunger (Riders of the Apocalypse)
Authors:Jackie Morse Kessler
Info:Graphia (2010), Edition: Original, Paperback, 180 pages
Collections:eBooks, Read, 50 Book Challenge 2012, Your library
Rating:****1/2
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Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

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» See also 13 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
We’ve all tried to lose weight at some point in our lives but this is different. Within the first 10 pages I was both appalled and horrified that people suffer so much from these eating disorders. And it’s not described to purposely shock, it is shocking. It’s part of their lives. It is their lives.

On the very first page we witness seventeen year old Lisa’s suicide attempt after fighting with her boyfriend, feeling depressed after her former friend Suzanne tells her she’s anorexic, realising she’s angry and her feeling of emptiness all lead her to feel that life isn’t worth living anymore. She just wants it all to stop.

Something as simple as licking a tear from the corner of her mouth has her thinking it’s okay to do so because it’s calorie-free. When faced with food, every bad ingredient is rattled off by the Thin voice in her head followed by the number of calories they contain and the time required to burn them off on her exercise bike. Her obsessive compulsive actions lead her to eat little and exercise to exhaustion, and what she does eat is the epitome of health. No junk food. She even agonises over eating a simple French fry.

And Misery loves company. Lisa’s anorexic but her best friend’s bulimic. Tammy reinforces her twisted relationship with food as Lisa feels like a failure for not being able to throw up on command and is in awe of the fact that Tammy can ‘bring up a doughnut in thirty seconds’. Sadly, she thinks this is apparently something to be proud of.

Lisa’s struggle to become a better anorexic is downright scary. Her need to control every aspect of her body, frightening. But in her pursuit of this goal she fails to realise that her body is crying out for sustenance. Her confusion and trouble remembering things that only happened the day before and the absence of her period which at first she mistook for a pregnancy scare, then later believed it was just down to stress.

As Lisa describes her dream in which she’s told she is the new Famine, Tammy calmly tells her:
“Your own personal Columbine. That’s what your Famine is. Your subconscious just wrapped the rage up in a food image, instead of a freak-with-a-gun image. You relate better to food, that’s all.”

An anorexic who chooses to not eat becomes Famine, something that means that choice is taken away is an interesting idea, it’s what drew me to this book in the first place. Well, after seeing the beautiful cover, anyway.

I enjoyed the symbolism of the Scales of office and the need for balance between being starved to doing things to excess or gluttony, and how one can counteract the other but it’s all down to perception. Lisa’s perception that she’s fat when everyone around her believes she’s too thin, being angry at those who eat to excess and feeling guilty for depriving herself of food when others don’t have a choice but to go hungry.

The horses made interesting supporting characters, seeing things from Midnight’s point of view as an immortal guide to their ever changing riders. Even War’s perspective helped me to see the change in Lisa, how her role as Famine had an impact on how she approached life. The riders all contributed: Death with his strange sense of humour and philosophical musings, Pestilence with his philanthropic way of seeing things and War with her bloodthirsty and forthright anger.

I couldn’t help but wonder if her meeting with Death and the other horsemen, and her role as Famine was real or imaginary though their role in her journey obviously helped her. You wouldn’t think it would considering they’re harbingers of the apocalypse.

After reading about Lisa’s disturbing thought processes and observing her behaviour, I had a fervent wish that please god, let this girl be okay. When she is confronted again by Suzanne and her boyfriend James, she is so distressed at them calling her anorexic that I had conflicting thoughts on whose side I should be on, when sanity told me to be on the side that makes her seek help.

Then finally we hear the three words that I’ve been desperate to read: “You’re too thin”. They come from the most unlikely source. Then again this person was so straight talking and direct, and the truth hurts.

I find that YA rarely touches upon such serious topics and I’m very glad that the author was brave enough to share some of her own experiences as she explains in the Author’s Notes at the back. I’m not certain why I’m not giving this 5 stars because it’s definitely something I’d slip to a friend with similar troubles, hoping it would help them in some way.

eBook received for review courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
This book is really short, more like a novella. Nonetheless, I love the concept. Death calls upon a teenage girl with anorexia to be Famine, one of the horsemen of the apocalypse. It's something I should have thought of. I like the parts that seem real for anorexics -- constant calorie calculation, excessive exercise, obsession with what she eats (to a point where it starts to interfere with the narrative), and denial.

But I was a little sad that, despite being a horseman... horsewoman of the apocalypse, there is no apocalypse. And I'm not sure what her purpose in being Famine was. One says her job is to spread chaos, another indicates she's supposed to pave the way for War, to work in tandem with Pestilence. Or is she supposed to eliminate hunger?

In fact, that's what she does, once she starts to understand it, to feel the joy that satisfied hunger brings, making her stint seem pointless pandering to dark fantasy nerds. The four horsemen stuff is kinda what I came here for, so it was disappointing that most of it was about the girl and her horse. There are other books in the series though.

And they don't wrap up nice and tight either. Her disease is still there after the climax and she seeks help. I think the author did a good job and gave me what I wanted -- a plausible portrayal of an eating disorder + a little dark fantasy. ( )
  theWallflower | Mar 14, 2014 |
Suicidal and anorexic teen Lisabeth Lewis' life changes drastically when a strange delivery man comes to her door and hands her a package containing a set of scales and proclaiming "Thou art Famine" Lisa learns that, as Famine, she has an innate understanding about food and hunger that has little to do with why she's been starving herself. As one of the mythical four horsemen, Famine's steed, which Lisa christens Midnight, accompanies her on several adventures into lands that have felt the touch of Famine. Lisa learns about hunger, herself and meets her fellow horsemen along the way.

Hunger was a fascinating young adult fantasy that strongly reminded me of Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series, which I loved. A lot of the subject matter discussed was a bit shocking and disturbing but ultimately very realistic. I truly enjoyed the very candid way they author tackled issues like anorexia, bulimia, as well as world hunger. But this wasn’t simply a book trying to make a statement about the issue of eating disorders, this was a very entertaining read with a well developed plot and a very unique story. Once I read a couple paragraphs of the first chapter, I was hooked, and I never once lost interest.

The characterization in Hunger was great. Death was mysterious and intriguing, he seemed to be the leader of the Four Horsemen and there was just enough of him in the book to make me really want to read more about him as the series continues. I hope he gets his own book in the series eventually. The horses themselves were entertaining and seemed to have their own individual personality. Lisa was both a character that I pitied as well as cheered on. The gradual changes Lisa made throughout the book showed her growth in a way that was believable. I would highly recommend Hunger to anyone looking to read something unusual and outside the norm in young adult fantasy.
( )
  a.happy.booker | Mar 14, 2014 |
This book was simply amazing. I have never read a book like this one. While I was initially not expecting much out of such a short story (174 pages), I am completely amazed at how many emotions this book made me feel.

As someone who has battled with body image and food, this hit so close to home. In the past, I constantly had to fight with that Thin voice and sometimes she won. A day later, I would realize how stupid the Thin voice is and proceed to eat like a normal person. To this day, I avoid scales at all times and cry in the dressing room when I have to go up a size. I cannot tell you how this book has truly opened my eyes.

Lisabeth is a seventeen year old girl who I can completely relate to. I thought like her once and still think like her every now and then. Watching her struggle brought tears to my eyes so many times and truth be told, I'm trying very hard not to cry while I'm writing this.

Her boyfriend, James and her ex-best friend (so, real best friend) Suzanne were amazing, caring, and had me rooting for them in hopes they could get through to Lisa.

By far the most intriguing part of this novel is the take on the Riders of the Apocalypse. I have always been fascinated and scared by them since I read Revelation in church. Pestilence was probably my favorite. After letting Famine (Lisa) know that they can help instead of destroy, it completely took me by surprise.

I cannot wait to read the next three novels. This was a quick read and I recommend to any and every one. ( )
  Ashley_McElyea | Dec 15, 2013 |
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.
( )
  T.M.Carmona | Sep 25, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jackie Morse Kesslerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yuen, SammyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Lisabeth Lewis didn't mean to become Famine.
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Book description
“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 battle her own inner demons?
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Seventeen-year-old Lisabeth has anorexia, and even turning into Famine--one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse--cannot keep her from feeling fat and worthless.

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