Hungry – book review

Hungry
by H. A. Swain
Dystopian
Science Fiction
* * * * Stars (Great!)

Thalia’s mother helped create the innovative nutritional substitute and drugs that feed everyone and suppress their appetites and other urges (Synthamil).  No one really eats or cooks anymore and there isn’t any food (there may not be any plants or animals either, as previous generations poisoned the Earth).  Now her parents work for the company that distributes Synthamil – One World Nutrition – and Thalia has a very nice life, except that she’s starting to feel hungry all the time.  This is abnormal and scary.  Bored by the entertainments fabricated for the masses, Thalia goes exploring one night and meets Basil, who invites her to an Analog meeting where she learns that not everyone has the same privileges she enjoys.  People outside of her “Loop” live in terrible poverty, despite receiving Synthamil, and the Analogs are determined to change that.  The meeting is disrupted by police who arrest the attendees (Thalia and Basil manage to escape), and when Thalia’s mother finds out what she’s been up to, she sends her daughter straight to rehab.  Basil breaks her out shortly thereafter and the two go on the lam – trying to help disseminate the truth about what’s happening in the Outer Loops and the stranglehold One World has on the food supply and people’s rights to feed themselves.  Their adventures take them all the way to the Hinterlands, where things are starting to grow again.  Will they be able to defeat the corporation that controls their lives?

A chilling vision of the future where our society continues to struggle to solve problems of hunger, poverty, and environmental destruction, set in a technologically advanced and innovative world that dazzles many of its denizens, while completely ignoring the needs of others.  Lots of brain-tickling ideas.

Reviewed by YA Librarian