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af H. A. Swain

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13610157,158 (3.08)1
In Thalia's world there is no more food and no need for food, as everyone takes medication to ward off hunger. But when she meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that the meds are not working.

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A tale set in a future world where food is no longer necessary and famine and food-related illnesses no longer exist, Thalia begins to feel hunger when the appetite-suppressing medicine her parents' employers created stops working.
  lkmuir | Nov 30, 2015 |
Actual rating: 2½ stars. This book was O.K. I hated it so much during the first 200 pages and I was actually thinking about DNF'ing, but due to guilt, I just couldn't. Briefly, here are a few of my thoughts on the book:

- The premise of the book was ridiculous. Just read the synopsis.

- The main character, Thalia, annoyed me - and Basil, too. (Thalia Apple and Eli Basil? What in the world? Ooh, Apple and Basil are hungry! How creative.)

- One word: instalove. She got butterflies during their first meeting, I mean COME ON.

- The whole book just felt so forced. In an effort to make the book dystopian-ish, the author threw random terms in that just sounded fake and too try-hard. Eg: Smaurto, Gizmo, Forno? Seriously?!

- The world building was terrible.

- I can't take this book seriously. I mean, look at this excerpt:

I turn to Basil and whisper, "Is everybody here, you know . . . ?"

"Are they what?" he whispers back.

"Like us?" I ask. "You know, hungry."

I literally snorted when I read it. It sounds so silly, how can one take this seriously?

- The first half of the book dragged really slowly, and as a result, everything just felt crammed together at the end. When I reached about 90% of the book, I was wondering how everything that needed to happen would fit into the last 10%. As a result of all this, the ending just felt abrupt and unsatisfactory. However, the action-y parts of the book were pretty gripping.

Overall, I wouldn't really recommend this book as a go-to dystopia. It took me a whole month to get into the book and it kind of irritated me at points. Nevertheless, if there was a second book, I think I'd read it because the last hundred or so pages leveled the story up a bit. And I think it'd have potential, since the ending of the first book acted as a stair step which would connect to the second book pretty nicely. ( )
  fatimareadsbooks | Aug 18, 2015 |
Hungry by H. A. Swain is a chilling portrayal of what our future could be if our society continues down its current trajectory as well as a coming-of-age story about a girl named Thalia when she realizes her world is much different than she thought. I have to admit that there are days when I wish I could just chug my Synthamil and not have to plan what meals to cook for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but a world without chocolate is obviously unacceptable! Hungry is a refreshing combination of believable future technologies, friend and family relationships that actually make sense, and a dystopian society that gets back to the grittier roots of the genre. There is of course also the adorable but forbidden romance, but since Hungry is a standalone you don’t have to worry about love triangle developing ;-).
Note: I received Hungry from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Hungry by H. A. Swain
Published by Feiwel & Friends on June 3rd, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher

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.

The premise of Hungry is hauntingly believable. We’re already trying to synthesize and prepackage food as much as we can, so it isn’t hard to imagine a world where you just drink your perfectly calibrated nutritional beverage in the morning and at night. Add to that the idea of a world where we can’t produce enough actual food to support the population, and you end up in the scary but very believable world of Hungry.
As a computer science nerd, I can’t help but evaluate what technological gadgets are included in futuristic settings, but Hungry is spot on in the technology the future could have. Self-driving cars? Handheld gadgets that make recommendations on who you would want to befriend and what new attraction you’ll enjoy? People so completely immersed in their virtual worlds that physical contact is now frowned upon? Not too hard to believe right??
Thalia made for a solid main character. She definitely felt like a teenager, but that is both because she is rather offended when the world isn’t how she thought it was and because she grows quickly and passionately throughout Hungry. She starts as an adorable nerd who just likes to hack into systems and bother the status quo, but has to change quickly as her world shifts. I liked who she was at the start and I loved who she was by the end of Hungry.
I’m really enjoying this trend of parents and extended family playing a larger role in young adult stories. Thalia is best friends with her grandmother and her dad as soon as Hungry starts. She has a typically rocky relationship with her mother, but the bonds with her family continue to play a major role throughout Hungry; so good to see!
Hungry is a standalone! I was a little nervous about how it was going to wrap everything up as I got to the end, but it manages to end at a very satisfying point and tells a complete story without falling to the temptation of dragging things out into multiple books.

I can’t help being overly critical of science in sci-fi books, so this isn’t something that will bother most of you I’m sure. For the most part, Hungry handles the science of how people could be genetically engineered to no longer feel Hunger, but that just made the few mistakes regarding how mutations work stand out more to me.
Thalia and Basil are pretty cute most of the time, but they start to get annoying at various points when their whole “from different worlds” tension gets brought up over and over again. A lot of the plot gets moved along because one of them does something foolish and the other goes along to try to help diffuse the situation….
Hungry is a bit strange because there are no chapters (at least not in the ARC, if this gets changed I’ll update!). It is broken up into four parts, but if you are one of those readers who has to stop at chapter breaks, you might be in for a late night.

Hungry by H. A. Swain is an excellent futuristic sci-fi and a breath of fresh air in the YA dystopian trend. It incorporates a lot of the more classic sci-fi elements since it backs up the premise with believable science and technology, while still being exceedingly readable with a cute romance for YA fans. There will always be a part of me that wants a sequel of every good book in order to find out more about the world, but Hungry tells an excellent story as a standalone. I definitely recommend Hungry for fans of YA that loved the dystopian trend but got sick of the tropes! ( )
  anyaejo | Aug 12, 2015 |
Hungry by H. A. Swain is a dystopian novel where there is no longer food because man has destroyed the world's resources.

Thalia is a "privy," someone who doesn't know what the real world is like for most people. Thalia's mother and father work for One World, who isolates them and gives them privilege above others. Her mother has developed a drink that allows the body to never feel hunger and gives it the sustenance needed. Her father is a technical wizard who has taught Thalia how to hack into systems and maintain some semblance of privacy amongst the constant observation of One World. One World has the government contract on Thalia's mother's drink, so they basically control everything. They can decide who gets nutrition and who doesn't. When Thalia meets Basil, a poor kid who has never had anything and belongs to the Analogs, she begins to learn about the strictness of the Nutrition Laws and how privileged she's truly been.

Thalia has always been a bit of a rebel. There are advertisements everywhere and her best friend Yaz knows how to play the game. Yaz has her personal camera record her as she promotes products. With positive reviews, Yaz can get a better job one day. Yaz is understanding of Thalia's lack of interest in consumerism because Yaz knows that Thalia is privileged and doesn't see how others live. Thalia also belongs to the Dynasaurs, a group of hackers who try to "bother" One World as often as possible. She's already a natural anti-One World person. After meeting Basil and understanding Yaz's route to her future, Thalia joins the rebel movement. Basil and Thalia run away and are being actively sought by One World, where capture surely means death. They encounter problem/adventure after problem/adventure. It borders on the ridiculous at how little they accomplish in light of Thalia's epiphany of the real world.

Overall, the novel has a lot of action and a lot of anti-mega-corporation, which is fairly entertaining. The encounters Basil and Thalia have become over-the-top as they move further out of the Inner Loop and even beyond the Outer Loop. The author explores the devastated society by beginning within the most privileged and going out to the most free with a hint that freedom could exist for everyone, but they will have to fight for it. ( )
  acargile | Aug 3, 2014 |
Eat up

Hungry by H.A. Swain (Feiwel & Friends, $16.99).

With the glut of YA dystopian novels featuring smart, brave girls as main characters, a book has to be something special to stand out. H.A. Swain’s Hungry is exactly that.

In a near-future where climate change and war have ruined our ability to feed ourselves, enter mega-corp One World, who produce Synthamil, a nutritional drink that has—supposedly—ended hunger. Instead, the residents of gated communities have all their nutritional needs calibrated and produced for them, but they never have to actually eat anything.

Thalia’s parents both work for One Corp, but she’s a hacker-girl with a habit of questioning authority, and what she finds is that, with the exception of a privileged few such as her family, most people are broke and starving.

There’s a funky best friend and a romantic interest—named Basil, he creates food aromas for “forno” (food porn) fans—and did we mention that Thalia’s been feeling hungry? That’s not supposed to happen.

Swain’s written a fresh take on dystopia, with plenty of subtext about conformity, eating disorders and media literacy. Hungry is satisfying—or at least enough to hold us until the sequel.

Reviewed on Lit/Rant: www litrant.tumblr.com ( )
  KelMunger | Jul 31, 2014 |
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In Thalia's world there is no more food and no need for food, as everyone takes medication to ward off hunger. But when she meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that the meds are not working.

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