3.56 (4,226 ratings by Goodreads)

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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.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 140 x 208 x 10mm | 186g
  • Houghton Mifflin
  • Boston, United States
  • English
  • 0547341245
  • 9780547341248
  • 134,320

Review quote


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 Selection

An 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.

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.

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.
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About Jackie Morse Kessler

JACKIE MORSE KESSLER is the author of several paranormal and dark fantasy books for adults. Hunger is her first book for teens. She lives in upstate New
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Rating details

4,226 ratings
3.56 out of 5 stars
5 22% (945)
4 32% (1,336)
3 30% (1,250)
2 12% (516)
1 4% (179)

Our customer reviews

Slight spoilers ahead! I have always been interested in reading a book written in the perspective of an anorexic teen, but I haven't come across many good books yet. This one had a fantasy aspect, but still, the anorexia nervosa was ever present. It also kind of dawned on me how warped the disease really is, but let me talk about the book first. It's really short, I read it in two lunch breaks at work, and it throws you right into the plot. I found that a little irritating at first, but oh well. Some things didn't work for me too great, some things seemed hurried to me. But it was very entertaining. Oh, how much I wanted Lisa to overcome the Thin Voice (which is later discovered to be similar to the voice of the Horseman of Death, coincidence? I think not.). I also own Rage, and I'm looking forward to reading it (also because it's a little thicker than Hunger) because the whole story of the Apocalypse intrigues me. But are the Horsemen always on Earth? I was under the impression that they rise out of Hell once the Apocalypse start, but apparently not. At this point, I have to say that I really liked Lisa's friend Suzanne and James, Lisa's boyfriend. They tried to reason with her about her sickness and only later when she once again realized how fat she apparently is (and obviously isn't) she realized she needs help - and that's what gripped me. Many victims of anorexia never reach that conclusion on their own, much like an acquaintance of mine who was forced to enter rehab a few years more
by Jill Barrakling
Lisa can never escape the thin voice. It screeches and tears at her - telling her how fat she is; counting the calories in one chocolate chip cookie; calculating the number of minutes on the exercise bike. No matter how thin she is, it's never enough. Lisa's anorexia spirals out of control; she swallows a handful of her mother's antidepressants. That's when Death comes for her. He doesn't want her soul - not just yet. Instead, he bequeaths a gift. Lisa will now embody one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - she will become Famine. Midnight, her black steed, whisks her away to lands that are ravaged by hunger. She is witness to great suffering and pain. Through all of this, Lisa discovers that possessing Famine can do incredible harm as well as good. She learns how to sustain life, and in return, that inspires her own will to live. I was amazed by the premise of HUNGER. What a creative and thought-provoking way of looking at eating disorders. Kessler handles the subject matter with incredible care, without preaching or lecturing to the reader. I believe that this novel will truly resonate with some teens. I know it did with more
by TeensReadToo
I had never read a book about the four horsemen before, so I was really excited to start this one. It's a fresh face in the paranormal monster world (at least for me), and I'm always on the look-out for something new. I really liked the premise of it. I think Death was definitely my favorite horsemen. He was funny and really put a fun spin on the concept of death. I think it was great that Jackie Kessler managed to take a fun paranormal read and center it around the very important issue of eating disorders. I think it's so important that teens find books that they can relate to, that help them through tough situations in their lives. Eating Disorders are everywhere these days, and yet you still don't hear people talking about them much. I liked Lisabeth's character. I found her hard to relate to sometimes, but I think that was because she was struggling with herself so much in the book. She had a hard time relating to herself. The eating disorder was eating her. Overall, this was a great new addition to the YA world and the paranormal world and I'm really looking forward to reading Rage, the next Horseman book!show more
by Reading Angel
The best way I can describe this book is by saying that this was a very difficult and tough read. I enjoyed the spin Jackie Morse Kessler used in Hunger, giving Lisa the job responsibilities of Famine, but underneath this, no reader will be able to forget that there is a very serious issue at stake. Kessler allowed readers to be passengers along for the ride during Lisa's struggle with her eating disorder and the consequences that have been the result of her actions. I'm not sure what I was expecting from this novel, but I enjoyed reading it (or at least as much as one can) with a topic as heartbreaking as this one. I found myself feeling extremely naive and ignorant when presented with some of the information presented to me in Hunger. I know this is a work of fiction, but Kessler does say in her acknowledgments at the end of the book that although this is a work of fiction, she makes it clear that this situation and many like it are not make believe. Many people out there suffer from these diseases and so many need help and assistance from people they can trust. I will say that as informative as this was for me, there was one point about half-way through that after reading I was not sure I'd be able to make it to the end. It was an incredibly vivid and emotional scene and it was devastating to witness/read. So I took a break but then decided that I couldn't let myself put this book aside forever, so I kept reading. I think Kessler has a wonderful writing technique and is doing a great and very brave thing by not only writing this novel and putting it out there, but for trying to reach people through Hunger, in order to help educate everyone with this story. There is help out there for those individuals with eating disorders and hopefully they'll be able to see there is light at the end of the tunnel, and help for those who want and need it. For people like me, I was humbled after reading this book because of my ignorance on these issues and problems, and I'm thankful to have had the chance to read Kessler's work. I look forward to reading more of her work and can only hope that her voice reaches far and wide with more
by Katelyn
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