Book Review: Hungry by H.A. Swain

Hungry CoverBook: Hungry by H.A. Swain

Published April 2014 by Feiwel & Friends|372 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover!

Series: None

Genre: YA Dystopic/Sci-Fi

What It’s About:

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.

What I Thought:

When I saw what Hungry was about, I was immediately intrigued.  It’s a world where people have synthetic food that gives you all the nutrients you need, and it’s a really interesting world.  It’s never said outright why or how the world got to the point where everyone had medication that warded off hunger, but based on conversations throughout the book, it was implied that the world was overpopulated, and it led to food shortages, which then led to Thalia’s parents creating the inocs.

It was definitely created with good intentions, but it causes a mutation that causes people to feel hunger- and that’s definitely seen as a bad thing, since there are rehab centers all over the place for it, and Thalia’s really resistant to the idea of being treated for it.

There is something very hi-tech about this world, and while I had a little trouble picturing things at first, I did start picturing things really well.  And while it’s not full-on dystopic, it’s dystopic enough that I would have no problem whatsoever categorizing it there. And that brings me to how everything ended.  It was a pretty slow build-up, and towards the end, it seemed like things started happening really fast, because ending a little bit abruptly.  It appears that this book is a stand-alone, since I can’t find anything about a possible sequel, and yet with how the book ended, it seems like a sequel is very possible.

I don’t how I feel about the possibility of a sequel- it will be interesting to see where things would go if a sequel were to happen, but if it’s a stand-alone, it is pretty open-ended, so if that’s not your thing, keep that in mind if you’re considering this book.

Still, I really like that this a world that I can easily imagine- food becoming more and more scarce as the world’s population increases, and synthetic formulas becoming normal.  It felt pretty realistic, as does the technology.  And the marketing groups and how Thalia’s best friend likes the stuff that’s marketed to her, because why wouldn’t she like them- it makes you think a lot, which is pretty awesome.

Thalia was pretty clueless, and she is pretty sheltered, which means she’s really naive at times (but there are times where she seems to be the only person who’s questioning things).  I think  there are people who while be really annoyed with that, and find it frustrating, but it didn’t bother me because I’m pretty sure I’d react the same way if I were in her shoes.

My Rating: 

3 stars.  I liked it, it makes you think, and it’s an interesting concept, but I didn’t love it.

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