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review 2016-05-04 00:21
Hunger - Jackie Kessler

I just wanted to make a quick blurb about how important I think this book is. 
The story is about an anorexic teenager named Lisabeth who, on the brink of suicide, is interrupted by Death and summoned to be Famine, of Four Horsemen fame. Kessler has written an empathetic and authentic portrait of the psyche of those suffering from anorexia. She also addresses the mistakes that friends and family members can make while trying to help people like Lisabeth, and she accomplishes both of these difficult tasks without coming off as preachy or sappy. While Kessler doesn't shy away from harsh descriptions of starvation and bulimia, Lisabeth has a dark sense of humor and a witty sort of nihilism about her, which lessens the "emotional porn factor", as I call overly weepy and dramatic fiction (thanks, Russell Brand). By the time I finished, I was certain that this is a book every teenager should read.
What makes this book stand out to me is the interpretation of the Four Horsemen

(extremely original) and especially the ending (don't worry, no spoilers here). I'll admit I was at first wary of potential worn-out Christian tropes and a rushed and unrealistic ending. There was absolutely no need- the ending was excellent, and if there's any religious sort of undertone at all in this book, it is definitely Buddhist. 
Overall, a beautiful and important piece of YA fiction in the vein of It's Kind Of A Funny Story that deserves much more attention. 





From the back of the book: 

     "Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world."
     Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?
     Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home—her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power—and the courage to fight her own inner demons?
     A wildly original approach to the issue of eating disorders, Hunger is about the struggle to find balance in a world of extremes, and uses fantastic tropes to explore a difficult topic that touches the lives of many teens.
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review 2013-12-26 20:20
"I am Famine' the Black Rider said. 'And I'm telling you to get your armored ass out of here before I suck you dry."
Hunger - Jackie Kessler

This was a really good book. It takes an interesting look at eating disorders. Lisa is really sick and people are staring to notice. After a bitter confrontation, she decides to end her own life, but Death has other plans. He gives her a set of scales and a black steed making her Famine. As Famine she learns just how messed up she is. The ending is very powerful. I enjoyed Lisa story.


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review 2013-10-07 00:00
Hunger (Riders of the Apocalypse)
Hunger - Jackie Kessler Meh I was hoping for better. It wasn't terrible but I had a hard time connecting to any of the characters. :/
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review 2013-05-28 00:00
Breath (Riders of the Apocalypse, #4) - Jackie Morse Kessler Breath, the story of Death, is the final installment in the Riders of the Apocalypse Quartet and by far my very favorite of the series.

Throughout the first three books you get glimpses of Death's story but in this book Jackie Morse Kessler lays out the whole history and mythology of Death and his place in our world. This is a bold move because done badly and the whole thing can fail spectacularly, but Kessler pulls it off beautifully and her Death as embodied in his current incarnation by Kurt Cobain is wise, sad, lonely and ultimately weary of this world. We learn his creation story and how and why he created the original Horseman. The four Horseman keep the world in balance and after watching humans for millennium Death is suicidal. If Death dies then so does the world and this is the framework on which this story is built.

Breath is also the story of Xander Atwood who believes in true love with his whole being and believes he has found the one girl for him--Riley Jones. After crushing on her from afar, Xander and Riley are finally a couple, but there is something not quite right. Something Xander can't quite remember. Or doesn't want to remember. And he is the one person who can talk Death out of taking the whole world down in flames.

Why Xander you ask, well-he was nice to Death once without expecting anything in return so Death owes him a boon or favor so before he dies he must pay.

This was a great ending to a great series with all the loose ends tied up as nicely as you please. So many books that deal with "issues" practically beat you over the head but all four were handled with grace and the author relating her own personal experiences with the topics she explored made me love the series even more. Bonus for money from the book going to http://twloha.com/.

Buy this title at Powells Books.
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review 2013-05-15 00:00
Loss - Jackie Morse Kessler I think I loved the idea more than the actual end product. I love what the author is attempting to do with this series and think if it makes a difference for one person who reads them then that is great! I also love how the author relates her own personal experiences with the topics she writes about in the end-notes. But I think this is my least favorite of the three.

Buy this title at Powells Books.
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