The Art of Starving

The Art of Starving

Featured
 
4.5 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
1567   0
Write Review
The Art of Starving
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
16+
Release Date
July 11, 2017
ISBN
978-0062456717
Buy This Book
      

Matt hasn’t eaten in days. His stomach stabs and twists inside, pleading for a meal, but Matt won’t give in. The hunger clears his mind, keeps him sharp—and he needs to be as sharp as possible if he’s going to find out just how Tariq and his band of high school bullies drove his sister, Maya, away. Matt’s hardworking mom keeps the kitchen crammed with food, but Matt can resist the siren call of casseroles and cookies because he has discovered something: the less he eats the more he seems to have . . . powers. The ability to see things he shouldn’t be able to see. The knack of tuning in to thoughts right out of people’s heads. Maybe even the authority to bend time and space. So what is lunch, really, compared to the secrets of the universe? Matt decides to infiltrate Tariq’s life, then use his powers to uncover what happened to Maya. All he needs to do is keep the hunger and longing at bay. No problem. But Matt doesn’t realize there are many kinds of hunger…and he isn’t in control of all of them. A darkly funny, moving story of body image, addiction, friendship, and love, Sam J. Miller’s debut novel will resonate with any reader who’s ever craved the power that comes with self-acceptance.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.5
Plot 
 
4.5  (2)
Characters 
 
4.5  (2)
Writing Style 
 
4.5  (2)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

Original, touching story

Matt hasn’t eaten in days and if it’s up to him, he won’t be eating for the next days to come either. His sister is ‘missing’, his mom is not really there for him and he’s just not sure what to do with his life. He’s also not sure what to do with his body. When he finds out he has some kind of magical powers when he is hungry, he makes the decision to just stop eating. Without food, he feels stronger. Strong enough to maybe even save his sister.

Like I said: it's an interesting story. First of all, Matt is a guy. Every eating disorder book I’ve read until now was from the POV of a girl. Experiencing this disease through a boy is very refreshing. The thoughts are a bit different, yet in the basics very comparable to what a girl experiences. It comes down to controlling at least SOMETHING in his life, but it's also about the way he views himself (he thinks he’s fat – which I thought too at the beginning, but you soon find out it’s not true). Besides his eating disorder, Matt is also gay. Don’t worry, this ain’t a spoiler. It’s not so much a story of coming out, but he does kind of struggle with the fact that he is gay. But in a different way than you might expect. The last thing that really makes this novel stand out, is the fact that you notice right away that getting thinner is not his main goal, but more like a side effect. And that’s what shows how important it is to realize that eating disorders are not always JUST about getting thinner or loosing weight. With Matt, it’s mostly psychological.

The writing style is really refreshing. Even though the book sounds really depressing, Matt is a funny guy, reflecting on his life every now and then. He likes to make jokes, but doesn’t pity himself. He just needs to find his sister. Period. The books is divided in multiple chapters all starting with a ‘life lesson’ by Matt. It’s a lesson that teaches you, yes, The Art of Starving. And he finds himself to be the master at that.

The plot is interesting as well. It really suprised me. You might think: so yes, this is going to happen. And then… it doesn’t. That proves the plotline is thought through very well. It surprised me. It did get a bit freaky, but I won’t give you any details since I promised not to spoil you. You’ll find out once you’re reading the book that not everything is what it seems to be or what Matt tells you it is.

The Art of Starving tells the story of a struggling young man who would rather die than not find out what happened to his sister. His eating disorder makes him an untrustworthy POV, which makes the novel all the more interesting. The book is well written, touching and above all very original. I couldn’t stop reading and was addicted to Matt until the very last page. I recommend it to everybody who’d like to read a book that has a refreshing take on eating disorders.

Good Points
- Very Original
- Well written
- Touching
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

A Gorgeous and Heartbreaking Book

Matt can’t control much of anything in his life. His dad left when he was a baby. His sister—his primary ally in teenagedom—has run away. His mom is working long hours and struggling to keep her job. Kids at school pick on him because he’s gay. And the school has identified him as at-risk and sent him to a psychiatrist. His life is pretty much a mess, and Matt is focusing on the two things that he thinks he can control—revenge on the boys he has decided are responsible for his sister, Maya, running away, and depriving his body of food.

Each chapter of THE ART OF STARVING starts with a rule, and the first couple of rules lay everything out pretty starkly: your body is your enemy, and starving yourself makes you stronger. Matt offers example after example of this as his story progresses… though you begin to realize as you read that Matt, though both charming and interesting, is far from a reliable narrator. Fortunately, we don’t need to be assured that he’s telling the truth about events when he’s giving us deep insights like “…every great revenge story is indistinguishable from a love story” and acknowledges that he’s writing for “boys in general, especially the lost lonely isolated ones, the boys with no one in their lives to teach them The Rules…”. My favorite of Matt’s rules, though, comes late in the book. Rule #44 says “Your mommy really can make everything better.”

THE ART OF STARVING is a gorgeous and heartbreaking book that had me saying “what the…?” while flipping pages so fast I barely cared about the answer to my own question. While dealing with all of his troubles, Matt’s search for love and acceptance moves beyond the specifics of his situation and speaks to every reader. The author of the book, Sam J. Miller, writes beautifully and weaves magical realism with an unreliable narrator in such a way that put me in a mode that was as uncomfortable and off balance as the book’s protagonist—but at the same time left me wanting to believe that all of Matt’s experiences were real.

This is a book that I’ll want to read and re-read in order to glean those beautiful and sometimes painful truths that the author has hidden in Matt’s story. My thanks to Sam J. Miller for a fantastic book, and to YA Books Central and the publisher for an advance copy of THE ART OF STARVING in exchange for my unbiased review.

Good Points
Beautifully written

Fascinating protagonist
Was this review helpful to you? 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

As Far as the Stars
Christopher is the sort of guy that no one notices,...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
This Cruel Design
The nightmare of the outbreak is finally...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Big Red School (Clifford)
Clifford misses his best friend Emily Elizabeth every day when...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Finding Me by Kelly Gunderman
Tagline: Can you ever truly love someone who robbed you...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Don't Date Rosa Santos
Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea-at least, that's what...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
An unforgettable name… A longing to be invisible… ...
 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
I Got Next
It’s game day! In this action-packed picture book from Daria...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A Friend for Bently
Like all pigs, Bently loves to play in the mud,...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Great Pumpkin Contest
Mimi and Clara are neighbors. Both cats want to win...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Save Your Friends!
This laugh-out-loud adventure encourages family sharing and is a perfect...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Dibs!
Teaching your little brother his first word —dibs —is funny....
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Where Are You From?
This resonant picture book tells the story of one girl...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Out of Place
When twelve-year-old Cove Bernstein becomes the target of a school-wide...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Salvation Day
A lethal virus is awoken on an abandoned spaceship in...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Bobby Ether and the Jade Academy
When sixteen-year-old Bobby Ether is abducted and brought to the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Startup Squad (The Startup Squad, #1)
Girls mean business in a brand-new middle grade series about...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

As Far as the Stars
 
3.3
"AS FAR AS THE STARS is a slow-burning book about overwhelming grief. Air (Ariadne) is a high schooler with heaps..."
This Cruel Design
 
5.0
"Feedback This book…. What do I have to say about this book…. I have such a love/hate relationship with it...."
Big Red School (Clifford)
 
5.0
"CLIFFORD: BIG RED SCHOOL follows Emily Elizabeth and Clifford as they create a special school just for Clifford. Clifford loves..."
Goddess Ascending
 
4.3
"Elidi is a Goddess, or she will be when she ascends but to do that she must survive an attack..."
Don't Date Rosa Santos
 
5.0
"DON’T DATE ROSA SANTOS is a sweet and touching book about family. Rosa lives with her grandmother, and she sees..."
Not Now, Not Ever
 
4.0
"Lily Anderson’s sophomore novel follows Elliot "Ever" Gabaroche during an intense summer program to compete for a scholarship. It’s Not..."
 
5.0
"Lemon's story focuses on finding an identity when you don't have one. She has to overcome her unforgettable name and..."
A Monster Calls
 
4.7
"4.5 Stars This low-fantasy middle grade story is at once hefty and heartrending—despite its relative brevity and target audience..."
I Got Next
 
4.0
"I GOT NEXT is a picture book about self-confidence. A boy encourages himself to challenge the other kids who are..."
A Friend for Bently
 
4.0
"A FRIEND FOR BENTLY is a heart-warming story of an unlikely friendship. Bently is the only pig on the farm..."
The Great Pumpkin Contest
 
5.0
"THE GREAT PUMPKIN CONTEST is a sweet and fun read about friendship. Mimi and her neighbor Clara are each entering..."
Save Your Friends!
 
3.5
"SAVE YOUR FRIENDS! is a simple, interactive story told in speech bubbles. The shark is about to eat your friends,..."
Dibs!
 
5.0
"DIBS! is a story about brotherhood. Julian constantly calls dibs on toys and snacks from his younger brother Clancy. Clancy..."
Where Are You From?
 
5.0
"WHERE ARE YOU FROM? is a stunning celebration of heritage/ancestry as well as an acknowledgment of the unnecessary question. A..."
Salvation Day
 
4.3
"Zahra wants the world to know the truth about her father. She believes he wasn't to blame for the deaths..."
Out of Place
 
5.0
"OUT OF PLACE is an absolutely gorgeous story about bullying and feeling alone. Cove lives with her mother on Martha’s..."
The Startup Squad (The Startup Squad, #1)
 
3.0
"THE STARTUP SQUAD follows primarily Theresa (Resa) as she and a group of three other girls compete in a contest..."
A Possibility of Whales
 
4.0
"THE POSSIBILITY OF WHALES is a middle grade contemporary story that deals with a lot. Natalia Rose (Nat) is almost..."
A Place for Turtles
 
5.0
"Books like this need to be written and read. Turtles are beautiful animals, but they have a hard time..."
The Stars We Steal
 
4.7
"Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie "Leo" Kolburg has a title, but not much else. She's heir to an older European spaceship.When the..."