Published by Feiwel & Friends, Macmillan on June 3, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Love & Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Paperback ARC from Publisher
Reading Challenges: COYER
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.
H. A. Swain delivers an adventure that is both epic and fast-paced. Get ready to be Hungry.
Hungry centers around a very unique plot line. It is a dystopian, and in some ways it is set up very similar to your typical YA dystopian. A power hungry government that demands complete control over it’s citizens, while holding onto tons of secrets of their own. But in other ways, Hungry felt very different. The descriptions of the world captivated me. H.A. Swain immerses you in a world sometime in the future that is so utterly different than the one that we know. Technology is very advanced and humans are pretty different. There are still some grandparents and parents that were around when the world started running out of food. That is how quick of a timeline we are talking about.
I was confused about some of the background information, and a couple of logistics, like the whole oxygen issue if there were no plants and fauna around, but H.A. Swain quickly sweeps you into her crazy new world and you are lost in the detail and story line. I was so wrapped up in the story that I didn’t even think of those questions again until long after I had finished the book.
Thalia is the main character, and from what I can tell her generation is the first generation born into this world of synthetic food drinks that supply you with all the nutrients you need and also make it so that you never feel hungry. I have to admit, that the technology aspect of this world completely fascinated me. The cars, the personal gizmos that everyone had, the social centers, all of it seemed so freakin’ cool! I want a personal assistant gizmo and I don’t care if that makes me weird that I want something from this creepy society.
Another thing that H.A. Swain did that I thought was brilliant was working social media and youtube esque channels into society. The job that you would get out of school was based on what kinds of popularity your personal reality video channel was getting. The more popular channels would get more product placement and sponsors which would mean more profit for the government. The social aspect of Hungry kind of reminded me The Lego Movie (which is excellent by the way.) It was very in the vein of Ayn Rand, with their whole big business (president business) and “profit is good” motif. I loved those undertones in the story.
Thalia is a great heroine. She is a little wacky and marches to the beat of her own drum, but she will not stop asking questions until she is satisfied with the answers. She is a free thinker and that alone made me love her. This became especially apparent when Hungry took a huge surprise turn and we stumbled upon the second/new society. I was not expecting that at all, and it was even creepier than the city! H.A. Swain really impressed me with the thought she put into her story. The detail and world building was beyond fantastic and the plot was very original. You kind of get two dystopian societies/governments in one with Hungry and I want more stories set in this world!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: