Happy Chinese New Year everyone!
This month I finished two books, Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick (read the review here) and Kids of Appetite by David Arnold.
For February, I am going to continue reading Night Sky Without Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong and Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.
I am also listening to History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera on Audible. It’s pretty great.
AND I’m finally going to start reading I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson! I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it and I just can’t wait.
Things are different: Dad’s in a jar.
Things are the same: we are, each of us, hopeless hopers.
title: Kids of Appetite
author: David Arnold
published: September 20 2016
I just finished reading Kids of Appetite by David Arnold, and I lived and I laughed and I saw that it was good… (you’ll get the pun if you read it😉)
In a nutshell, the main characters are teenagers, but other than that it goes above and beyond a YA book. It’s so full of feelings and aghhhhh.
I haven’t read MOSQUITOLAND, which is David Arnold’s first and super successful book, but if you have, I can guarantee you that Kids of Appetite is not going to disappoint.
It was such a diverse, big-hearted, enlightening and well-structured book. The story was very emotional but never self-piteous, and it shines a light on the lives of teenagers who have different backstories and aren’t necessarily the luckiest, but help each other and bond like a family.
So here’s the official synopsis:
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.
Here’s what happens, with simpler wording and less David Arnold pizazz:
Vic, who is sixteen, was born with Moebius syndrome, a rare neurological condition that results in facial paralysis. His father dies from cancer, and his mom might remarry. After a fight with his mom, Vic leaves home with an urn containing his father’s ashes. He finds a terminal note, instructing him to spread the ashes in various locations across New Jersey. As he embarks on his journey, he meets Mad and her friends, all of whom have lost one or both parents. The group develops a family-like bond and calls themselves “Kids of Appetite”.
The story has an awesome structure. It starts with two interviews in interrogation rooms at the police station, and then it winds back to what happened a week before. The POV alternates between Vic and Mad.
David Arnold’s prose is so flowy and beautiful and real. Both POVs tell the story thoroughly and thoughtfully.
One of the main characters, Vic, has a very distinct headspace. In reminiscence of his Dad, he calls everything good “Superb Racehorse”, and whatever’s bad a “sideways hug”. As for Mad, her language is honest, witty and thoughtful. Here are some of my favourite quotes:
It’s like words take the breath of the person speaking them, and wear that breath like a sweater.
With some laughter, you just have to let the dust settle.
She laughs like a little bird, and I wonder if maybe I was part of a miraculous gaggle all along.
This book has the most amazing and diverse batch of characters. Coco, the youngest, is from Queens, New York, and she is wise beyond her age, obsessed with ice-cream and fake-swears all the time. Baz, the oldest and the father-like figure, is a refugee from the Republic of Congo. All of them are distinct, generous and kind.
Here’s how David Arnold describes Vic and Mad in the character chart:
VIC: Current Chapter. Opera, Matisse, Mad. Super racehorse.
MAD: New Year’s darling, Punk cut, Elliott Smith, Venn diagrams, realness.
Overall, this was an awesome read, and if you like contemporary reads with romances that actually make sense, realistic portrayal of family and friendship, and full-dimensional characters, make sure to check it out.
😳Tell me about how y’all have been! Any new books or movies?