I don’t know how I feel about this book. I think I enjoyed it? It’s a weird one… I read it in two sittings, but when I finished reading it, I didn’t really feel overwhelmed by it, I didn’t feel like I had accomplished something and I didn’t really know how I felt. But, whilst I was reading Kids of Appetite, I obviously enjoyed it because I binge-read it, it made me laugh, and the characters were interesting… See what I mean?
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.
So basically, Vic’s dad died and he wants to scatter his father’s ashes in his dad’s favourite places in the state. Vic groups together with a diverse group of people to accomplish this and ends up being involved in a murder. Let me start with the characters
Let me start with the characters. They all had that one thing that sets them apart in a crowd. Unfortunately, I cannot divulge these differences because of spoilers. It’s these differences that bring these kids together and creates the bond that they share. However, I felt like these ‘quirks’? that the characters had weren’t developed… They were just there, there were no character arcs apart from Vic at the very very end, there was just no… ummphh. It’s hard to describe. That’s the best way that I can describe the characters without divulging information that is important to the plot.
I think the prose was a very interesting way to tell the book. Kids of Appetite opens up with a recording with Vic and a police officer about the murder of a man. The police officer is questioning Vic about his friends and just the general information that police officers ask. I think of the police recordings as ‘present tense’. Then the next chapter would be from Vic’s point of view and would go back in time, then we would have Mad’s point of view which is told from the same POV as Vic’s, then the book would go back to the police recordings, but this time it would be a recording of Mad’s and a different police officer. So the layout of the book is very strange, but it’s interesting because it keeps you engaged with the story and keeps you intrigued to find out what actually happened which meant that they end up in the police station being questioned about the murder.
“We are all part of the same story, each of us different chapters. We may not have the power to choose setting or plot, but we can choose what kind of character we want to be.”
– David Arnold, Kids of Appetite
I think out of all the characters, Coco was the one that really annoyed me. I know that she’s eleven and she said ‘frack’ instead of the expletives, but even at eleven, she shouldn’t even be insinuating that she’s swearing… Or is that me just being an old grump? She was funny, and she said some things that genuinely made me laugh out loud, but I did find her annoying as well. She said things that just seemed really insensitive. But again, I keep reminding myself that she’s only eleven and may not know any better.
I thought that the characters of Baz and Zuz were had a very heartbreaking yet interesting background and to see how they ended up where they are now was a very intriguing thing to read about. The way that Baz talks about his past made me want to cry… I need the Kids of Appetite book (the one that is written by Baz in the novel) in my life as I would love to read about all of the chapters and how they came about. I think it would be such a brilliant spin-off for Arnold to write!
Overall, this book was… Ok… writing this review hasn’t made it any easier for me to sum up my feelings… I’m going to say that the book was okay? I’d give it three stars and there is a possibility that I will re-read this in the future. Would I recommend it? Yes. Because I’d hate to take away this book from anyone that could actually enjoy it. So go and read it, form your own opinion, come back, and then let me know what you thought of it.