on June 3, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Science fiction, Young Adult
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 »shortly after, she basically throws her loving family to the wind to follow her “love.” He abandons her multiple times and she forgives him each time. He holds her privileged upbringing against her, constantly angry with her for acting like a “privy.” He constantly forces her to his point of view, and doesn’t allow her to seek the counsel of her family and friends. This is a classic abusive relationship. He keeps her off balanced, separated from others and is always saying how he hurts her for her own good. He doesn’t give her information on himself until forced to, and refuses to see that what she had growing up could be challenging even though it wasn’t nearly as bad as his own. « Hide 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.