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Review: Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

H u n g e r
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler (Twitter)
Release Date: 10/18/10 (Paperback)
Publisher: Harcourt Graphia
Age Group: Young Adult (12/13+)
Source: NetGalley & Harcourt Graphia (Thank you!)
Go Buy It: AmazonBarnes&Noble 
Overall Feelings: Darkly fascinating, unique, & oddly captivating!

Synopsis- “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?" Goodreads»»
Quick Thinking: Hunger captivates The Reader with it's moving, sad yet empowering tale of a seventeen-year-old teen, Lisabeth, struggling with life, loving herself included, while battling an unfortunate eating disorder. Her life takes a sudden, odd twist when she accepts the role of Famine of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. This unique story will keep The Reader engrossed in its pages from start to finish, wallowing in the well-written plot depicting the lengths of Lisa's quest for true inner strength. I, The Reader, recommend this novel to anyone looking for a humorous, powerful read with an phenomenal paranormal twist.

My Thoughts In-Depth: *Warning: May not be spoiler-free.* It was definitely easy for me to lose myself in the pages of Hunger, as I instantly fell for Lisa as a character. Lisa starts out as this sad, hollow girl with a pitiful well of self-esteem/self-confidence, then gradually begins to understand about life, people, and the meaning of hunger, until she evolves into this brave, empowered character willing to take the step needed to make THE change, the one that'll better her life.

Following her story, I easily fell into the black corners of her minds, where her dark thoughts lay, and immediately empathized with her. And in a strange way, I felt like I could relate to that strong dislike of herself and her appearance, because at one time or another I remember feeling that initial intense disgust for how I looked, though not as obsessively as Lisa. If a character can make me feel, feel anything, that's an automatic check plus as far the character department goes.
And I delighted in the rest of the characters, ranging from James, Lisa's yummy, beautiful inside-out, totally normal boyfriend, to the Pale Rider, the sad, ancient, arrogant and comical Death of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I think they all brought something to the table that the book couldn't do without. While the paranormal twist of the Four Horsemen was great, I don't think the book would've been as great without Lisa's friends, family as they were the necessary anchor to the real and solid world. And the great thing is, I could visualize this occurrence happening to someone else! There was that unshakable parallel between the paranormal and the regular world which left me fascinated and absorbed in the story.

The writing style was most definitely comprehensible and more so, it was completely engaging. There was never a dull moment, and I didn't skip over anything (words, paragraphs, pages due to boredom) not one single time! The ending was one of my favorite parts, and the way Kessler set up the transition from this novel to the next was impressive. I'm absolutely going to be picking up a copy of the sequel to this one-of-a-kind series, Rage...

Best Friend for Life (and many other life times): The Pale Rider, or Death (he's just so cool!)

Wish-He-Was-Mine: James and Death (I don't care that he's one of the creepy Horsemen and that sometimes you can see the imprint of a skeleton skull...He looks like a hugely attractive rockstar in the novel!)

Frenemy: War (even though she'd probably kill me in two seconds flat for claiming her a form of an enemy...)

Bonus Factor: Lisabeth's freakin' crazy cool black ensemble that oozes intimidation and that "I'm a badass, don't mess" attitude, as a perk for being Famine.

Loved These Quotes/Scenes:
"'He smiled, bemused. 'You were Lisabeth Lewis. Now you are Famine.
She didn't like the past tense usage of her name, but she decided that correcting Death was a bad idea. 'So who were you before you were...you?
His smile stretched wide. 'I have always been what I am.'
'You never had a name?'
'Oh, I've had hundreds of names. Thousands. People have a penchant for naming things. It gives them a sense of control, of understanding.' He spread his arms wide. 'But no matter what I am called, I am universal. I don't need a name.'" (53)
"'Hello, little girl,' the knight said, and even though a helmet concealed the speaker's face, Lisa could sense the knight--the woman--grinning hugely. 'I'm War.'
The woman loomed like a metallic beast, gleming in silver armor from head to toe...Her tapered breastplate sported an image of a blood-red sword, its point aimed high as if to challenge God to a duel." (67)
"The mouse--no, not a mouse at all, War noted through the red fury of her vision, but the Horsemen of Famine--spread her hands, and shadows crawled up her arms as if in answer to her summons, flowing over her shoulders and down her torse and legs and feet, clothing her in a coant and pants and boots of darkness. Beneath a wide-rimmed black hat, her obsidian eyes crackled with power. And in her black-gloved hand, the Scales shone brightly." (151)
Extra [J. M. Kessler] Linkage: WebsiteHer BlogHer Alter Ego's BlogGoodreads Author Page
Summary: "Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.

That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a different kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control.

A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation, Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world."

Expected Publication: April of 2011 by Harcourt Graphia
Pre-Order: Amazon
Other: Check out an old Fragment Friday ft. a snippet from Hunger (here), though I am warning you: it's kinda long...