One Sentence Review: A stunning story of overcoming loss and finding a family, this novel will without a doubt make you fall in love with every single character and will have you extremely emotionally invested in everything about the plot.
“And they called themselves the Kids of Appetite. And they lived and they laughed and they saw that it was good.”
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.
(summary from Amazon)
“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.”
I went into Kids of Appetite not really knowing much about the plot or the author behind it; the main reason I picked it up was because I had heard nothing but fantastic raving reviews. So, going in, I simultaneously had high expectations and had no clue what to expect.
Then the first page happened. And from the get-go, from the very first page, I knew this book was going to become a favorite. Not because there was intense action or some extraordinary occurrence that took place in those first few paragraphs, but because there was just something about Arnold’s writing style, something about Vic’s beautifully quirky personality, something about the ambience of the book that immediately stole my heart.
That feeling, that love, only grew as the book went on. Arnold made me feel like I was a part of something truly special; he almost made me feel like I was included in the fabulous crew itself, and that made me so incredibly happy because no one in their right minds wouldn’t want this cast as their group of friends. I learned so much from the Kids of Appetite, learned so much from each and every one of them: the stories they told were impactful and meaningful in completely different ways, and yet somehow the group fit together like perfect puzzle pieces.
I’m going to try to keep it short here, because I know I’ll quickly become repetitive, what with the fact that everything about this book was absolutely PERFECT. So here’s a little list of the reasons Kids of Appetite is a book you need in your life:
Characters. CHARACTERS CHARACTERS CHARACTERS. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this multiple times at this point, but honestly I really don’t think I’ve ever adored a cast of characters quite like I love the Kids of Appetite. They were just so quirky (I know I’m using that word a lot but there seriously is no better description), so hilarious, and so, so brilliant.
Perspectives! I looooveeeee multiple POVs, although a lot of times it can be confusing to have multiple narrators, especially when the author has to make the narrator relatable, realistic, and distinct. Arnold not only, obviously, did a fantastic job of creating narrators that were positively wonderful, but he also did a flawless job of making the chapter transitions utterly smooth (even with the fact that a lot of time we were flashing back in forth in time).
A plot that is somehow completely unique from anything I’ve ever read before. I mean, come on, Arnold mashed a murder mystery with a contemporary?! Who knew that was even possible, not to mention that he also beautifully executed the emotional aspect of the storyline.
A writing style that is hilarious, totally random, and impeccably simple. This book had me laughing and giggling constantly at the little random references to past (seemingly small and insignificant) details, and I was quickly captivated by the author’s way of storytelling. And, you know, there’s also the side note that the writing is kinda what creates the characters… I totally haven’t mentioned that I’m in love with the characters, have I?
The layers upon layers of messages present within these pages. I usually am not one to highlight or mark quotes, but with this book I simply couldn’t help myself. The reason? There were so, so many meaningful sentences, so many stories I hope I never forget. Like I mentioned earlier, I learned so much from the Kids of Appetite, and that mostly stemmed from their stories, their backgrounds, and just purely who these teens were.
Overall, I think this book is more a multitude of stories within one overarching plot rather than just a single tale, and I adored every part of it. The characters who will forever hold my heart with their wonderful eccentricity, the plot that was just crazy enough to be perfect, and the writing that was spectacularly random and hilarious… All I want to do right now is sprint to the nearest bookstore and pick up Mosquitoland (David Arnold’s other novel).
I’m already planning a reread, and like I’m pretty sure I’ve said in the past, I never reread. Ever.
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