Hunger by Jackie Morse KesslerHunger by Jackie Morse Kessler


byJackie Morse Kessler

Paperback | October 18, 2010

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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 fight her own inner demons? A wildly original approach to the issue of eating disorders, Hunger is about the struggle to find balance in a world of extremes, and uses fantastic tropes to explore a difficult topic that touches the lives of many teens."
Jackie Morse Kessler is the author of the the Riders of the Apocalypse quartet for teen readers, along with several paranormal and dark fantasy books for adults. She lives in upstate New York. Visit her website at . "
Title:HungerFormat:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.49 inPublished:October 18, 2010Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0547341245

ISBN - 13:9780547341248

Appropriate for ages: 12


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting and worth a read I really liked the way this one was written. It was such a unique and great idea to mix a common social issue with the concept of the Four Horsemen. It’s certainly different and I liked it. It made a whole lot of sense,and did put a lot of things in perspective. What I liked the most? is the Kurt Cobain version of ‘Death’ he was just plain awesome. I loved it whenever he appeared, he always had some sort of ironic witty comment to contribute. I’d have to say, he was one of my favorite characters in the book. The way Lisa’s hunger is described, especially during a scene where she’s on a date with her boyfriend, the description of the food, the smells, especially the fries! I was almost hungry myself! this, I thought was a great way of writing. It was so well done, you could almost taste and sense of what Lisa is feeling and what she’s missing out on. What I liked the most about Lisa is, she grows and develops as a character. She finally sees what she’s doing to herself in a rather eye opening revelation (so to speak) This book was a great way of tackling a very common issue among teenage girls and I most definitely recommend this. It’s put in an interesting manner by using the Four Horsemen and taking a problem plaguing young girls and putting it together. It’s different and makes an interesting read. I say give it a try, it’s worth a look through - it’s a fast read and worth the time.
Date published: 2012-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Hunger may deal with a serious disorder but it uses a fascinating supernatural element in helping the main character overcome it and find her inner strength and self confidence. It's definitely unique and it was very fascinating. If you're a fan of issue books, check this one out! ~~ Hunger is such an interesting spin on the issue books I'm used to reading. Yes it deals with a serious disorder--in this case anorexia--but it also has a supernatural element that I've never seen before with the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It's certainly something I'd never thought about but after reading Hunger (and Rage which I'll review soon) I can definitely see how the individuals would fit into those big, creepy shoes. Lisabeth is an anorexic teenager, struggling with food every day of her life. Having taken a course on eating disorders, and then finding out the author herself dealt with bulimia, I was impressed at how realistic Lisa came across. You really get how much she struggles and suffers with herself and how she looks and feels. From the voice in her head that's always calling her fat or counting calories, to the strength and control she's constantly looking for. It was all there and it felt real. The wording in this book is incredible. Ms. Kessler has a way of making them seem alive. Everything is described in detail and with so many meaningful metaphors and all sorts of literary devices. I loved it, it was so rich. The whole Horsemen angle plays a big role, not really in the actual bringer-of-the-apocalypse sense, but in helping Lisa. As the Black Rider, Famine, she's responsible for starvation around the globe. But she doesn't want people to suffer because of her, so she needs to find a less damaging way to use her powers. This and an altercation with another Rider have an impact in getting Lisa to find her own inner strength and balance. Balance on the battlefield and in her own life. It was pretty amazing how it all came together so beautifully. And it was logical too! On top of all that, there's Death. Death isn't like the dark, creepy, guy in a black robe carrying a sickle you're imagining. He likes taking the persona of a certain legendary grunge rocker and playing the guitar. He's witty, darkly humorous, and seriously mysterious. He's by far my favourite character. There's such a morbid curiosity surrounding him and I can't wait to learn more about him in the future books. Review also here:
Date published: 2011-07-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thou art Famine, yo. I was immediately drawn to Lisa's character. I felt her character was a very graphic portrayal of what someone with anorexia looks like and feels like. Everyone around her knows what is happening, yet she is in denial still that anything is wrong with her. That is until Death comes along and asks her to become Famine, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Lisa at first doesn't understand what is required of her to fulfill Famine's shoes. As she travels the world on her steed, Midnight, and witnesses the various communities that are dealing with huger and death, she slowly begins to realize that she could actually help the people instead of causing the horrible outbreak of famine. With that being said, she had to learn that the hard way, by realizing that you can't change unless you truly want to. By seeing the world hunger and choosing to help instead of hinder, she finds the strength that was always insider her. Lisa then has the courage to ask for help for herself to get better. Honestly, my favourite character in the book was Death. His dialogue, "Thou art Famine, yo. Time to make with the starvation.", his philosophical comments and his style of wearing old school Converse high tops make him seem more approachable than the traditional black cloak and scythe. He brings some humour to an otherwise intense topic. Also, the use of War, one of the Horsemen, being represented as having control over many aspects of people's thoughts and actions, such as Lisa's Thin voice telling her she is weak. It shows that Lisa has been at war with herself over her battle with anorexia and only once she figures out she is strong enough to fight back, is she able to control the outcome instead of letting the Thin voice win. Overall, it is a very well written novel. Kessler also adds some personal experience in the notes at the end of this book. I think it adds that much more to the story as she has personal experience with this topic. I'm looking forward to the next installments of the Horsemen novels. "You are full of fear," Death says, "when instead you should be comfortable with your own strength."
Date published: 2010-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! Hunger follows Lisa, a teenage girl who doesn’t want to admit she is anorexic. She calorie counts & sometimes doesn’t even eat. Lisa has been trying to hide her food issues from everyone around her, even her boyfriend. But after a nasty fight with her boyfriend, Lisa tries to kill herself but Death comes to her & appoints her Famine. At first Lisa thinks it was a hallucination due to the drugs she used to try & kill herself, until she sees her horse & a mysterious scale appearing everywhere. One of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse & Lisa has to learn how to fight for her own life & many others. When I sat down to write this review one word kept going through my head. Wow. Jackie Morse Kessler has done something pretty amazing in Hunger, she captured perfectly the life of a teen with anorexia. Hunger was truly the most intense YA I’ve ever read & I strongly suggest every teenage girl going through body issues should have a copy of this book. Ms. Kessler tells an extremely different story, though it’s been done before she has made Famine & the Horsemen her own. It truly was an intense ride, both for Lisa & for the reader. At some points I just wanted to smack Lisa & say get with it, but the more I read the more I realized this was the story of many a teen girl I knew in High School. It’s bound to touch every single female, all of us have had body issues at one time or another. That alone makes Lisa someone we can relate to & for her to be thrown into a bigger version of the World she’s put herself in, makes the book a great page turner. But be warned, it is a bit emotional especially the end notes. My only issue with Hunger was it was too short! I wanted it to last longer, I wanted more of Lisa’s life after the end of the book. But this is a series, so I can’t wait to see what happens next & with what character. There are some end notes from Ms. Kessler after the novel is done & it really brings home just how special this book was for her to write. I hope Ms. Kessler knows how special this book is going to be for a lot of teenage girls, because it truly will mean something to them. It meant something to this almost 30 year old. Thank you for including that letter Ms. Kessler & for sharing that story with us readers. The premise alone makes Hunger a must read, but the writing is what really sells it.
Date published: 2010-09-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read for Teens with eating disorders! Jackie has created a novel that I believe with touch the heart of every girl that reads it. Any girl who has an eating disorder or has thought about it should read this novel. I guarantee it will change your prospective and will give you your second chance just like Lisa got her second chance. Throughout reading the book I felt the pain both Lisa and Tammy were feeling. I don’t suggest eating anything while you’re reading...there is a pretty graphic scene one of the character puking. Let’s just say my Chicken McNuggets did not like reading that and I was almost sick. I know very ironic that I was eating a super unhealthy meal while reading about two girls that can’t bear to eat anything. I felt pretty guilty. Jackie also shows her character Lisa that she does have people that care about her well being. Even though at first Lisa is pissed and thinks they are just being insulting. Lisa is lucky that Death has given her a second chance to live her life. Most girls don’t get a second chance. Lisa realizes throughout the book that she does have a problem and has a support system behind her. Two thumbs up to Jackie for writing a novel based on one of the biggest problems among teen girls. I hope that it will open the eyes of many and will help them to ask for the help that they need. Remember you will always have a support system behind you even if you don’t believe it. Your family and friends would rather have a happy and healthy daughter/friend then a sad and unhealthy or possibly dead daughter/friend. The Results: Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Would I let my 15 year old sister read: Yes, I may force some of her friends with low self esteem to read it as well. Minimum course language (If I remember correctly there is 1 or 2 swear words) and no inappropriate sexual references. Please check out my blog for more reviews
Date published: 2010-08-11

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 Lisabeth Lewis didn’t mean to become Famine. She had a love affair with food, and she’d never liked horses (never mind the time she asked for a pony when she was eight; that was just a girl thing). If she’d been asked which Horseman of the Apocalypse she would most likely be, she would have probably replied, "War." And if you’d heard her and her boyfriend, James, fighting, you would have agreed. Lisa wasn’t a Famine person, despite the eating disorder. And yet there she was, Lisabeth Lewis, seventeen and no longer thinking about killing herself, holding the Scales of office. Famine, apparently, had scales—an old-fashioned balancing device made of brass or bronze or some other metal. What she was supposed to do with the Scales, she had no idea. Then again, the whole "Thou art the Black Rider; go thee out unto the world" thing hadn’t really sunk in yet. Alone in her bedroom, Lisa sat on her canopied bed with its overflowing pink and white ruffles, and she stared at the metal balance, wondering what, exactly, she’d promised the pale man in the messenger’s uniform. Or had it been a robe? Frowning, she tried to picture the delivery man who’d just left—but the more she grasped for it, the more slippery his image became until Lisa was left with the impression of a person painted in careless watercolors. Maybe the Lexapro was messing with her. Yeah, she thought, putting the Scales on her nightstand, next to a half-empty glass of water (which rested on a coaster) and a pile of white pills (which did not), I’m high as a freaking kite. And you’re fat, lamented the negative voice, the Thin voice, Lisa’s best friend and worst critic, the one that whispered to her in her sleep and haunted her when she was awake. High and fat, Lisa amended. But at least I’m not depressed. Or dead; the delivery man had rung the doorbell before Lisa could swallow more than three of her mother’s antidepressants. Bundled in her white terry cloth bathrobe over her baggy flannel pajamas, Lisa had answered the door and accepted the parcel. "For thee," the pale man had said. "Thou art Famine." And once Lisa had opened the oddly shaped package, all thoughts of suicide had drifted away. Thanks to the pills, that was sort of the way she was feeling now, as if she were drifting— drifting slowly like a cloud in the summertime sky, a cloud shaped like a set of old-fashioned scales . . . The pills. Pulling her gaze from the Scales, Lisa scooped the pills into her nightstand drawer. She wiped away the stray trails of powder, brushed off her hands, and gently closed the drawer. It wasn’t as if she had to worry whether her mom would notice that her stash of bliss had been depleted; Mrs. Simon Lewis was off at some charity event or another, accepting some award or another. Lisa just didn’t want to leave a mess. Even if she had overdosed, as she had originally planned, she would have died neatly in her own bed. Lisa tried her best to be considerate. She frowned at the Scales. Dappled in moonlight there on her nightstand, they gleamed enticingly. Lisa couldn’t decide if they looked ominous or merely cheesy. Cheddar cheese, one ounce, the Thin voice announced. One hundred fourteen point three calories. Nine point four grams of fat. Forty minutes on the exercise bike. And behind that, the pale man’s words burned in Lisa’s mind: "Thou art Famine." Uh-huh. Right. Famine having a set of old-fashioned scales, Lisa decided, was stupid. The only scales that mattered were the digital sort, the ones that also displayed your body mass index. Lisa yawned. Her head was fuzzy, and everything seemed pleasantly blurred, soft around the edges. It was peaceful. She thought about closing her window shade, but she decided she liked the moonlight shining on the Scales—sort of a celestial spotlight. You’re loopy, she scolded herself. Hallucinating. Get some sleep, Lisa. She settled down on her bed, pulling the princess pink covers around her to fend off the chill. Lately, she was always cold—and hungry. Although she enjoyed the feeling of hunger, she hated it when her body shivered. Whenever she forced her body to stop shivering, it made her teeth chatter. And when she forced her teeth to clamp shut, her body shivered. It was a physical conspiracy. Lisa gripped the blankets tightly and started thinking about the homemade cookies she’d make for Tammy tomorrow. As she imagined the smell of chocolate chips, she calmed down. Baking was soothing. And Tammy was a fiend for Lisa’s baking. James was, too, but he always acted hurt when she wouldn’t taste any of the sweets she made for him. Snuggled like a baby, Lisa stared at the object on her nightstand. Backlit by the moon, the Scales seemed to wink at her. "Thou art Famine." She let out a bemused laugh. Famine. Really. She would have made a much better War. Smiling, Lisa closed her eyes. *** The black horse was in the garden directly beneath Lisa’s window, invisible, waiting for its mistress to climb atop its back and go places she had never imagined—the smoke-filled dance clubs of Lagos, dripping with wealth and hedonism; the opulent world of Monte Carlo, oozing with indulgence; the streets of New Orleans, filled with its dizzying smells and succulent foods. In particular, the horse had a fondness for Nola’s sweet pralines. Perhaps they would go to Louisiana first—perhaps even tonight. The black horse snorted and pawed the grass, chiding itself in the way that horses do. So what that it wished to move, to fly, to soar across the world and feast? It was a good steed; it would wait forever, if needed, until its mistress was ready to ride. It wasn’t the horse’s fault that it was impatient; the rhododendrons in the garden couldn’t mask the cloying odor of rot, which made the horse’s large nostrils flare. Death had come and gone, but its scent had left its impression on the land, in the air. Death was scary. The horse much preferred the smell of sugar. Or pralines. The black horse waited, and Lisabeth Lewis, the new incarnation of Famine, dreamed of fields of dust.

Editorial Reviews

PRAISE FOR THE RIDERS OF THE APOCALYPSE SERIES Praise for Hunger: An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers* Realistic and compassionate. . . . the writing is never preachy, and it allows an interesting exploration of both intensely personal food issues and global ones."- SLJ, starred review"Jackie Morse Kessler does a fine job of taking a critical issue that has been explored in writing no small number of times, and putting a new and thought provoking spin on it. . . . Sheer genius."- New York Journal of Books "Powerful, fast-paced, hilarious, heart-wrenching. . . . This story will grab the reader and never let go."- Romantic Times Magazine " Hunger is not just a good book. It is a great book. It is funny and sad, brilliant and tragic, and most of all, it speaks truth. . . . I adore it."-Rachel Caine, author of The Morganville Vampires "A fantastic and gripping read that never shies from its difficult subject matter. . . . This book is a knockout."-A.S. King, author of Everybody See the Ants Praise for Rage: A Junior Library Guild SelectionAn ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers" Rage is raw and real, a truly dark, honest look at self-harm and the teenage psyche. Kessler left me breathless."-Heather Brewer, author of the New York Times bestselling series, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod"The elegant mix of dark humor, brilliantly developed characters, and just enough moral threads to lead readers to make their own conclusions is impressive."- Bulletin "Raw, visceral, pulling no punches, this story strikes home like a razor blade. It's unforgettable, heart wrenching, and enlightening."- Realms of Fantasy Praise for Loss: "Kessler blends fantasy, history, humor, and hard reality into a gripping tale."- SLJ "Jackie Morse Kessler has a keen eye for capturing the awkward uncertainty of adolescence, which she wraps quite deliciously in a coating of mystery, fright, and suspense. Loss is a treat for readers, a one-of-a-kind, twisty turny carnival ride. . . . I loved this book."-Andrew Smith, author of The Marbury Lens "Whip-smart and elegant."-Saundra Mitchell, author of The Vespertine "Gritty and raw with powerful truths. An addictive read."-Sophie Jordan New York Times bestselling author of Firelight Praise for Breath : A Junior Library Guild Selection"A riveting read." -Kirkus Reviews "The series is a strong and unique attempt to encourage troubled teens to consider their options and accept the help they need, while exposing all readers to the pain their friends may be experiencing." -Booklist "