Hungry by H.A. Swain
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.
Publishes in US: June 3rd 2014 by Feiwel & Friends
Genre: YA scifi
Source: MacMillan via Netgalley
Buy it: Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Book Depository
I wanted to read this one because I love the premise of the technology taking us this far, and how not having to eat would really impact society. I wanted to know why it didn't work for some people and was intrigued by the boy and his society that she will undoubtedly be drawn into.
Thalia was a great character to read about, I connected with her because she seemed on one hand so ordinary but on the other she had this thirst for knowledge. She didn't want to just blindly accept how things are now and not remember the past. Or question how society has set itself up and made people follow because they have the answer for hunger when starvation and food supply dwindled and wars began.
While I didn't quite understand how Thalia got around a lot of the government sites and found the underground, it is probably because I don't know how to do much with computers besides blog, check my email and google. So hacker and highly complex gadgets like their gizmos, a device that connected them to the internet and beyond. There were robot like assistants and virtual get togethers. But I do think that the food angle and how things are set up is definitely something original and a new idea out there in ya sci fi and dystopia.
But Thalia would rather get her hands dirty, or talk about cooking, eating and the other things that her grandma grew up with. Their relationship really endeared to me because of how close I was with my Grandma, and also just that even generation apart, they got each other.
Thalia has an adventurous and fun best friend, who drags her to new experiences and also questions why Thalia doesn't use her gizmo more, and why she was interested in the past.
Then there is also Thalia's stomach growling and the discovery of what hunger felt like. It was wild to think that even bodily functions are different in this world of hers, but I can scarily picture it is conceivable that our own future could move towards things that they have going on. Patches that monitor metabolism, heart rate, etc. Gadgets that society can or doesn't want to live without because it is their entertainment. Food and clothing become so artificial. And that the one with the food and the answers to survival could just take over and control everyone, because everyone needs to eat.
As far as the setup, I didn't feel that it ever really explored the difference between being hungry and the opposite of being satisfied... Did the metabolism start working differently on certain people? Because knowing how good it used to taste do they get cravings and treated like an addict and put in rehab? Should they not know any different? Could a girl actually be good enough to hack through a system? If there is no food and no animals, no trees, how are they breathing? Mentioned something about the sun being obscured... wouldn't it get too cold? Maybe I just didn't understand the basics, or maybe I should have just sat back and suspended belief on these?
I skimmed a little towards the middle, but it really picked up once they were able to get out. What they found though was in some ways even more appalling than what they left, but I can see why that was included because they also learned a lot there. That with power comes responsibility and that you need to be careful what you listen to and remember to think for yourself.
I enjoyed the concept, and I liked Thalia for the most part, but I wish it would have been a stand-alone. Unless it is, in which case the ending just needed a bit of tweaking to completely wrap it up and give me more of hope and completion. If there is a second I am wavering if I will read it because I am not sure where they will take the story based on the world building so far.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
If you could only eat one food for rest of life and otherwise be given water/pill for other nutritional needs, what would you pick?