I must be on a roll this year. I have actually drafted blog posts (that I haven’t actually published yet, but hey…drafted). I have been longing to read (I have just given up on watching whatever my husband is right now as we hunker down to both save money and avoid the cold and have been diving into my current reads). I actually finished a book and…I loved every minute of it.
This book has my heart. It had me laughing, crying, and cheering alongside the characters as they worked to overcome obstacles. It made me feel every single feel. It made me ache and made me excited at the same time. The book…Kids of Appetite by David Arnold.
Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.
This is a story about:
1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.
NOTE: I am very nervous that I will not accurately be able to get all of my feelings out coherently. I also worry that my words just won’t be enough to convey how much love I have for this book. So note, I wanted to hug this book over and over again after I finished it. It has moved onto my favorite shelf. I am so excited to be new to the David Arnold fan club.
The journey begins in a police station as Vic and Mad are giving statements about the murder of Mad’s uncle. Throughout the story we not only listen to the statements that they give, but we go back to the events of the past 8 days and uncover what happens and just who the Kids of Appetite are. I loved the setup of this book. I think it was great that it bounced back and forth so that you would only get a little information about the past before jumping in to the police station. It left you trying to fill in some blanks as far as if these two were guilty, or if their friends were. I felt that these police station scenes really helped set the tone of who Vic and Mad are, and what they are to each other. Though I rolled my eyes a little bit at the way that they talk (I just don’t know a single teenager with that kind of vocabulary), I found myself fully invested in their story and what was going to happen to them.
So…what are some amazing things about this book?
- The writing! I absolutely loved the writing. There are so many quotes that had me feeling all of the feels (and sobbing like a baby). I have finally, 16 years after experiencing it myself, found a description of what it feels like to find out a family member has cancer and what it’s like to watch them fight the battle that can end so quickly. Some of my favorite quotes…
- I found something I could relate to in each character. Vic lost his father to cancer and is watching his mother move forward from her intense grieving period in life. She is dating and just not who he remembers. I can relate to his struggles as he battles grief and the guilt that not everything is as clear as it once was. Baz and Zuz are refugees, and though I am not a refugee myself I have worked with a handful. Hearing the story of how they came to America in the book really hit me because it’s so much like what some of the students I have worked have gone through to get here. I have felt lost and alone and unsure where to go next, like many of these kids.
- I loved watching their relationships grow and deepen. As each character finds out more about the other you can see their relationships change, but for the better. They continue to gain and deeper understanding of each other, and see the things each person has gone through that no one that age should ever see. These terrible events brought them together and created a bond that I haven’t ever really known with anyone. Honestly, this story was about how your friends can become family.
- I loved all the characters. I honestly can’t pick a favorite one. Each one broughy their own selves to the story, and their backgrounds helped continue to move the plot along. They started off a bit unsure, and throughout the story they grew and matured. They weren’t perfect. They disagreed, argued, and had to have some space from one another. They made assumptions that they shouldn’t have made. But in the end, they made their relationships with each other the most important part, and there’s something to value in that.
Kids of Appetite was an emotional journey that really reminded me of a more modern take on Mad’s favorite book, The Outsiders. Parents were pretty much nonexistent and they were forced to grow up further than what their ages imply. From start to finish, I was totally hooked. I found myself really caring for the characters, to the point where I would comment on things out loud.
I am honestly so thankful I found this book and glad that it was my first book of 2018. I cannot wait to read David Arnold’s other book, because if it’s anything like this one…well, then I will need to redo my favorites bookshelf.