30 Authors in 30 Days is a first of its kind event aimed at connecting readers, bloggers, and authors. Hosted by The Book Wheel, this month-long event takes place during September and features 30 authors discussing their favorite recent reads on 30 different blogs. There are also some great prizes provided by GoneReading.com and BookJigs. For the full schedule of participating authors and bloggers, visit The Book Wheel (http://www.thebookwheelblog.com/30-authors/) or join the Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/events/669563803136594/). You can also follow along on Twitter with the #30Authors hashtag!
Author Paula Young Lee writing about H.A. Swain’s novel, Hungry
“Do you ever dream of food or imagine what it must be like to eat?” In the dystopian future of H.A. Swain’s YA novel, Hungry (2014), food has become illegal. In place of meals, humans take a suppressant called Synthamil, and they no longer have any memory of what actual chocolate, chicken, or fruit tastes like. But Thalia Apple, seventeen years old, has a problem. A hacker, she suddenly finds herself troubled by a bizarrely rumbling stomach. Worse, she is becoming increasingly convinced that something is deeply wrong with her pill-popping, carefully-controlled world. In response, her worried mother takes Thalia to see a specialist in order to find out why her daughter is exhibiting signs of a mental illness called “hunger.”
Following under the genre of “cli-fi,” Hungry uses the dystopian future to critique current political and economic struggles to deal with an increasingly threatened food chain. The result is an intelligent book with strong female characters as well as a depressingly believable premise: that there is no more food being grown in a world where every move is monitored. Thalia herself is half Vietnamese, half Black, which makes this book a quiet contribution to the call for more diversity in literature.
Compellingly, Thalia is driven to answer questions that she herself is asking, and the risks she takes emerge from her own process of decision-making. Though there is a romantic element, Thalia’s relationship with Basil remains organic to the plot, and Thalia retains her own voice. For that alone, I would highly recommend this book to girls hoping to identify with a heroine who follows her own path – and ultimately, her stomach — to a new and thrillingly uncertain future.
Paula Young Lee is the author of six books (academic and trade) on food, foodways, and animal-human relations, including Deer Hunting in Paris: A Memoir of God, Guns, and Game Meat (2013), and The Hunter’s Haunch (forthcoming, 2014).
Hungry by H.A. Swain (book image above)
Author site: http://www.heatherswainbooks.com
Deer Hunting in Paris by Paula Young Lee (author image above)