The copy I read is the U.S. paperback edition.
Date read: May 14th – June 11th
It’s three months after that grand Thanksgiving feast Albert has dished up – everyone is hungry. It doesn’t matter where you live, Perdido Beach or Coates Academy, every kid is getting more and more desperate for food.
There are new characters, the division between the “normals” and the “freaks” is getting bigger, Sam feels overwhelmed with his new position as the mayor of FAYZ, Astrid’s hiding a secret about Little Pete, Caine’s been in and out of consciousness for the past three months, Albert has an idea to re-establish the economy, Lana is fighting the pull from the Darkness and there are new mutations.
Hunger takes my image of the words “gross” to a whole different level. The zekes, those mutant worms living in the cabbage fields, are vicious and make it impossible for the FAYZ kids to get to the food. Slowly, a anti-mutant group of normals is emerging, led by Zil and his asshole crew, the Human Crew. With Caine starting to take action, Sam has way too much on his platter. Also, a sound theory (not that it is realistic or anything – to my limited science knowledge, at least) on the existence of FAYZ and the mutations is made.
Let’s talk about the characters, who have changed so much since the beginning of Gone. Michael Grant does not write flawless characters, and I know I’d probably turn into something crazier when FAYZ happened, like, right now, but sometimes they (the characters) make me angry. (Spoilers for Hunger ahead)
Sam – I’m so pissed at the kids on Sam’s (and my) behalf: Those kids who do nothing but sit around and watch TV yet demand food and solution to every little, tiny, minuscule problem. Sam tries to deal with the mess he is neck-deep in but his mistake lies in assuming that everyone – or at least the majority – will put effort into preserving the community. He ignores some warning signs and has waited way too long to address those lazy kids.
Astrid – She has become prissy since Gone, and her superior tone and defensive lash-outs are nerve-grating. Okay, so she is behind the finding out about the Darkness and the FAYZ and stuff but she is way too moral to deal with the problems realistically. I have no clue why Sam loves her so much. I guess love makes us blind and immune to the emotional hurt.
Edilio – Edilio is a constant (for now), for which I am forever grateful. If he changed too, I think I would have given up hope for this bubble. At the end of Gone, I thought there might be something between him and Lana but apparently not.
Albert – He’s a thinker and planner; he keeps his eye on the bigger picture, and I admire his ideas and the determination to carry out those ideas. He has become a bit harder than in Gone, but is just as much unfazed by most of things as ever.
Lana – As the Healer, Lana is the most revered person in the community. No one would dare lay a hand on her. Unfortunately for her, Darkness is the exception. Lana is brave and does not waste time cursing her fate. As gaiaphage deepens the pull inside Lana, she becomes more closed off and distant.
Quinn – “There were two kinds of kids in the FAYZ, Quin reflected, and the types were not “freak” and “normal.” They were kids who had been changed for the worse, and the kids who had been changed for the better. … Quinn knew himself to be the first type. He was one of the kids who had never recovered from the FAYZ. …” (Hunger, Chapter 20, p. 270) I disagree with Quinn on his second reflection. Yes, he made stupid mistakes in Gone, but now he is doing what he can to struggle by. He has not changed for the worse – he has matured.
Little Pete – In Gone we assume Pete to be the main reason why FAYZ was created. In Hunger, his powers have expanded although his mental barriers remain in his head.
Caine – Sam’s twin brother (he’ll hate it I termed it like that) is not the same after encountering the Darkness – he’s more messy and less the sharp planner we first met him as in Gone. In the end, it was love – a bit twisted and obsessive – that saved him.
Drake – Unlike Caine, Drake embraces and reveres the gaiaphage. He is even more cruel in Hunger, which I didn’t think was possible.
Diana – Diana is a strategist. She once says that she does whatever she needs to do in order to survive, just like others. She doesn’t think much of Caine’s puppy affection (Bam! Another mental slam from Caine!) and her own feelings are unclear. She is less sharp around the edges.
Bug – The living chameleon is quick to change sides in order to save his skin. Can’t really blame him, though. He is the perfect spy to Caine, and Bug always grumbles that he has to walk long, long way without food. Bug used to hide since he was young (was it the fights between his parents??) and he says people often overlooked him in a crowd, so it’s no surprise his power is to become invisible.
Dekka – Her power is to cancel out the gravity for a limited time in an limited area. It is revealed that she is lesbian and in love with Brianna. When there is a fight, Dekka is always there.
Brianna – She comes off as arrogant a bit, showing off her power and insisting people call her “Breeze”. She is fearless, always ready to take on enemies. I think this change might have something to do with the fact that she was – along with other kids – kept prisoner at Coates Academy before Sam and the others freed them.
Computer Jack – His super strength catches him off guard because he’s used to being just a geek. In Hunger, Jack displays both his physical and cyber strength. May or may not be crushing on Brianna.
Duck Zhang – A new character who discovers his power when he sinks to the bottom of his pool and keeps sinking. He has the ability to change his density. When he floats on the water, Duck often felt like he was a lot lighter and could fly away. I guess that’s where his power comes from. He plays an important role in the book.
Orsay – Another new character with a unique ability: she enters the dreams of people around her. After a period without any, she starts to crave them. She says her mother was a heroin-addict, maybe that figures into her DNA as well.
Hunter – Has a similar ability as Sam, both of them being Lighters. Yet while Sam burns from outside in, Hunter does it from inside out. He is later accused and turned against by his best friends.
Zil Sperry – One of Hunter’s ex-buddies and moof-hostile kid. He later founds Human Crew. It’s actually scary how most of the kids choose a side, as if some decided to develop super powers. I’d guess jealousy plays a big role in this new division.
Cookie – As Lana says, after she healed the painful injury, the ex-bully is reborn as an earnest and loyal guard to protect the Healer.
Orc – Orc is still chugging beer whenever he can get it but his heart is not as indifferent or ignorant as it used to be.
Howard – Still as cunning, but less hostile.