Review: Hungry by H.A. Swain

June 15, 2014 2 stars, Book Review, Science Fiction, Young Adult 15 ★★

Review: Hungry by H.A. SwainHungry by H.A. Swain
on June 3, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Science fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

In the future, food is no longer necessary—until Thalia begins to feel something unfamiliar and uncomfortable. She’s hungry.

In Thalia’s world, there is no need for food—everyone takes medication (or “inocs”) to ward off hunger. It should mean there is no more famine, no more obesity, no more food-related illnesses, and no more war. At least that's what her parents, who work for the company that developed the inocs, say. But when Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that most people live a life much different from hers. Worse, Thalia is starting to feel hunger, and so is he—the inocs aren’t working. Together they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food.


Thalia Apple is a revolutionary in the body and life of a privileged 17 year old girl. In Hungry, we enter her life just as she is realizing that all of the happy, easy truths she has been fed since childhood are all a pack of lies hiding the ugliest truths she must learn to face. H.A. Swain has built a world for us in Hungry that is not far off from our current reality. In it, the world population has peaked and when the food supplies became too scarce large scale warfare was initiated by individuals to feed their families.

We come in a generation later, after Thalia’s mom has discovered a nutritional supplement to feed the masses, keep them feeling full and regulate hormones to avoid excessive procreation. The entire world has been ruined and no longer supports life, and Synthemil is the only nutrition available. One World, a corporation that stepped in after the government failed, has taken over and makes sure that everyone and their firstborn child has access to synthemil so that no one can go hungry again.

The problem is, Thalia is hungry.

From stomach grumbling to nightmares, Thalia is not satisfied by the nutritional shake her mother created to feed the masses.  She loves the idea of simpler times, and hates the capitalist society run by One World.  People are expected to buy, school takes place in malls and virtual games are the standard playgrounds. Thalia longs for hand created art and family mealtime from yesteryear. She belongs to an underground hacking movement called the Dynasaurs who do their best to undermine One World’s stranglehold on society. Thalia has a chance encounter with Basil, who she feels insta-love for, as her hormones are as un-suppressed as her hunger.

As a mother, I do not like Basil one little bit. While their initial meeting is sweet and I was glad Thalia found someone to connect to – View Spoiler » I do not understand their relationship, and this failed the book for me.

I would not recommend Hungry to teenagers, due to the unhealthy dynamic between Basil and Thalia. Thalia is a passionate revolutionary and she would have been better off never meeting Basil. Thalia is a smart girl, and she abandons her family, friends and network for essentially no real gain. The world building is good, although nutritional shakes that suppress your hunger and hormones are not exactly revolutionary (think Ensure, Enfamil) it was in interesting idea and I will probably not continue if this series moves forward.

*gasp* This book was provided by the publisher! No worries though it’s an honest review and all opinions expressed are my own. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.


When not taking care of my two children, husband and mini doxy, rushing here and there on the go, I can always be found reading. Fantasy of course being my favorite genre, but not the only I'll read. Oh yes, and I throw bad books.

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15 Responses to “Review: Hungry by H.A. Swain”

  1. Sara B.

    This book keeps popping up every time I turn around. At first I was really interested in this book, but it seems like the reviews I am seeing are all pretty consistent. No one really seems to like it. This makes me kind of sad, originally I had hopes for this one. Thanks for sharing!
    Sara B. recently posted…Weekend Links for the Bookish and Nerdy {5}My Profile

  2. Kel

    Very interesting. It sounds like this romance would kill the book for me, too. This is not a healthy relationship! Even for hormonal, less than bright teenagers.

    And, I confess, I always twitch a little when the evil “capitalist” corporation rules the world. More often than not, regardless of the “corporation” tagline, the societal mechanics seem to operate more like socialism/communism (a la Big Brother) and/or a straight dictatorship. Ah well, stuff to think about, right? 🙂
    Kel recently posted…Discussion: Writing is Like ClayMy Profile

  3. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    I’m sorry this wasn’t a good read for you . . . this is one of the few books that didn’t appeal to me at all. Maybe I’m just weird, but something about the whole concept of this book creeps me out. I think it either had to creep me out or bore me, so I went with creeped out–all the talk of supplements and grumbling stomachs and HUNGRY make me think of ghouls or the Alien movies, LOL. BUT it sounds like my silliness about this one didn’t cause me to miss out on much. Great review though 😉
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  4. Kirsty-Marie

    I really just can’t take the book seriously. I’ve only read I think two reviews now on it, and yeah, both negative. It does have an interesting premise and that but it just sounds really weird. I mean, it would probably solve a whole lot of issues with food, but would also probably cause a different lot. And that “relationship” would annoy the hell out of me.
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  5. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    Even with all the hype I never actually made plans to read this book. The summary doesn’t really call to me. Just like you said, it’s not entirely original and reading about a girl that feels hungry doesn’t sound like anything I’d enjoy. I read your spoiler, and it just affirmed that I really don’t want to read this. Great review, though.
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