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Hunger

by Michael Grant

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Gone (2)

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2,465835,986 (3.96)23
Conditions worsen for the remaining young residents of a small California coastal town isolated by supernatural events when their food supplies dwindle and the Darkness underground awakens.
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» See also 23 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
Fantasy
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
I read this volume 2 of a series as it was cheap in a charity shop and the black cover was intriguing. It is basically a young adult novel based on a 'Lord of the Flies' situation when everyone over the age of fifteen has disappeared from an area surrounding a beach resort in California and the children have to survive within an enclosing dome. That would have been fine, but a lot of other elements are thrown in, including animal mutations - coyotes have become intelligent enough to talk, for example - strange superpowers which often seem of little use to the child who develops them, a malevolent creature lurking in a mine which has mind control powers, a vendetta developing between standard humans and 'freaks' as the superpower kids are known, a war between the resort and another area centred around a former school, the leaders of the two communities being half brothers, and a person with an eating disorder. Plus there is an autistic little brother who seems to have developed a very powerful ability he doesn't really control. This all made it a bit too much to deal with and the book constantly swapped between multiple viewpoints so it wasn't easy to 'invest' in the characters.

One big issue was pacing. There's a lot about the problems of the community with the lack of food becoming critical. It takes ages for the action to get going to address the major crises that develop. When it does it is sometimes too fast and furious which doesn't leave space for real issues to be explored - such as an important character developing radiation sickness due to their earlier heroism - which become throw-away lines. Part of the problem is that some characters, especially Sam the leader of the resort town, spend a lot of time on internal monologues of self-doubt, depression etc. and this drags down the pacing.

I did find Sam in particular an irritating character. It seemed the obvious solution was to delegate the silly little problems where children were complaining about each other to a wider committee to leave Sam free to concentrate on important things such as was his half-brother planning action that would have severe consequences for everyone. With divided attention, he was running all over the place and never addressing major problems which then spiralled out of control. I understand that these are under-fifteens, but there were some responsible characters and it would have been better to, if necessary, imprison the boy who was stirring up hatred against those with super powers, especially since that included Sam himself. I gather though, that this development becomes important in later books.

It was an OK read but overlong and on the basis of this volume I wouldn't bother with the rest of the series, though I take the point that I'm not the target reader. So for me 2 stars. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
This books is probably "GOOD" or even "GREAT" for many people, but for me...it's not. I need a bit more HOPE or JOY in my stories. These are just too depressing. I have to give up. These kids are stranded with mutant creatures and infighting and no food and...I just couldn't read about it anymore. This series is like "Unfortunate Events" in that I just have to give up and find something that has a little more silver-lining to the cloud. ( )
  KimZoot | Jan 2, 2022 |
Not bad. The story is definitely progressing into some interesting developments. I listened to the audio because I really didn't want to put in the work of the larger book after reading the big 850-page book I recently finished. The narrator isn't bad but his voice can get annoying at times. ( )
  starslight86 | Jul 20, 2021 |
I can see why this series snares readers - the slow-building tension and the variety of voices makes it interesting and widely appealing for the casual reader. Alas, with Hunger I will personally be calling it quits.

There were multiple things that made Hunger concerning for me.

The first is the sheer amount of POVs. Gone already had twelve POVs. Off the top of my head, there's at least nineteen POVs in Hunger. Almost every single character that has a name in Hunger has at least one chapter written in their perspective... there may be 5 characters that don't. I'm all for multiple POVs, but I think nearing twenty is a bit excessive. It takes forever for the plot to move. I'm sure Grant is building for events in the other books, but I found the pacing lag as I read, and I was getting bored. It was just... really slow-paced. And somewhat excessive. For example, I think Dekka as a character was great - it's awesome to have a Black character POV and I love that there's LGBTQ+ rep. But her chapters were fluff. The story would have moved more quickly by leaving her as a supporting character.

And while we're talking about Dekka... let's throw in Edilio and Duck as well. After a little while, the diversity in Hunger started to feel very token. The readers knew were diverse only because they told other characters in dialogue, or in Duck's case, thought about it themselves. There is none of the richness of diversity of real communities. It was flat and poorly represented. I'm not Black, Asian, or Honduran - I'd love to hear from own voices readers on the representation of these characters. As an outsider.. it felt... stiff. The dialogue was uncomfortable for me when the characters announced their diversity. Maybe it's just me?

While we're talking about cringiness... lets talk about Little Pete. I lost count how many times the "r" word has been used between Gone and Hunger. The ableism of the characters in this book is one thing (and largely unchallenged, too, which is another problem)... but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the way Grant used Pete's autism to build this world. I wonder how much (if at all) the author researched autism before writing him? When Hunger was published, sensitivity readers were less common; in the modern era, I like to think the publishing house would have noted Grant's ableist depiction of Pete and sought sensitivity readers. Pete is constantly "othered" and because this is a series for young adults (and a very popular one at that) there is some responsibility to be kind and accurate in portraying autistic characters. As well as the racial diverse characters, characters across the sexuality spectrum.... everyone.

There's a lot of cruelty and hateful language in Hunger. Given the state of the world they're living in and their depleting food supplies, this is not unexpected but it was uncomfortable. There a poorly-handled representation of an eating disorder (my understanding is this gets worse as the series continues) as well as an attempted lynching. It's unsettling, but not in the way The Hunger Games is unsettling. It's in a world a little too close to modernity, so maybe it was just uncomfortable for me... but I also think there were some choices and language used that were overly cruel and not challenged.

The lack of challenging these things was the most difficult for me. Have your villains be villainous. But your heroes should balance them out.

This book is dark, and it's okay that it's dark... but it feels written a bit carelessly. There was so much going on with the characters (or rather... not really going on but we needed to see it all) that the plot crawled by, and by the end of the book, I wasn't sucked in. I was relieved. It has the feel of a work by an already successful author who is churning out books with little care of the worlds and people within them. The only thing I will personally remember from Hunger is how utterly disappointed I was with the development of the characters and the carelessness of the language.

Perhaps I'm a crone, but I think there are far better books for young adults out there than this series, especially because it is so haphazard with its language and the token depiction of diverse characters. An intriguing dystopian storyline and an adult-free world does not forgive these things. ( )
  Morteana | Jan 5, 2021 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Grantprimary authorall editionscalculated
McCarley, KyleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Conditions worsen for the remaining young residents of a small California coastal town isolated by supernatural events when their food supplies dwindle and the Darkness underground awakens.

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Book description
It's been three months since everyone under the age of fifteen became trapped in the bubble known as the FAYZ.

Three months since all the adults disappeared.

Gone.

Food ran out weeks ago. Everyone is starving, but no one wants to figure out a solution. And each day, more and more kids are evolving, developing supernatural abilities that set them apart from the kids without powers.

Tension rises and chaos is descending upon the town. It's the normal kids against the mutants. Each kid is out for himself, and even the good ones turn murderous.

But a larger problem looms. The Darkness, a sinister creature that has lived buried deep in the hills, begins calling to some of the teens in the FAYZ. Calling to them, guiding them, manipulating them.

The Darkness has awakened. And it is hungry.
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