Imagine a world in which nobody needed to eat food anymore; a world in which all of your basic nutritional and hormonal needs were regulated through synthetic formulas, a world in which your cars could drive themselves, in which you are always connected by screens, in which society thrives in one big happy unified world.

Sound too good to be true? Don’t tell the leaders at One World, but that’s because it is.

This is the environment that privileged teen Thalia Apple lives in, and she’s starting to realize that all isn’t as ideal as it seems. She’s different from most of her peers, preferring analog to digital, homemade to mass-produced, face time to screen time. Still, she would be pretty fine with her plugged-in existence in the Inner Loops if it weren’t for one very important thing.

Thalia Apple is hungry.

She has had tests and seen specialists and drinks all the specially-calibrated Synthamil that she is supposed to need, but she can’t help the rolling discomfort that is beginning in her stomach. She can’t help but wonder what it would be like to eat real food, to have the ability to grow plants again like her ancestors did in the days before the Food Wars. She can’t help but wonder if she’s the only one like this.

Thalia won’t wonder for too long, as the plot of Hungry kicks into high gear when she becomes involved with Basil, a cute and charismatic member of a resistance group. With his influence, Thalia is able to see the world as it really as. She finds out just how unjust One World and its monopoly over nutrition is and how poorly the underprivileged masses are treated. After busting out of a rehabilitation facility, she and Basil are on the lam, sparking revolution wherever they go. There are rumors of fertile land out in the Hinterlands, of crops and real food. The people are hungry. They want to eat.

As the population rises to join the two rebels, the stakes get higher and higher. Will Thalia and Basil be able to make a difference and change the laws? Is there really a way to produce their own food like the stories say? What really lies beyond the Loops in the Hinterlands?

Hungry is a fast-paced dystopia that feels, unlike many of its contemporaries, uncomfortably like it could actually happen in the not-so-distant future. The creation of the world of the Inner and Outer Loops is very detailed, and Thalia’s evolution from privy to freedom fighter is well plotted. Older readers will be eager to find out what will become of her and her partner in crime.

384 pages  Ages 12-16  978-1250028297 Recommended by Molly Crumbley, Librarian, MD, USA.

Read alikes: The Giver, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Divergent Trilogy

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