Skip to main content




World hunger is a problem in our society today. In the U.S. alone, billions of pounds of food are wasted every year while in other places, thousands of people are dying due to malnutrition. If the power is in your hand, how would you fix this problem? Is it ever possible to end world hunger and create a utopian society? 
In the novel HUNGRY by H. A. Swain, 17-year-old Thalia Apple has lived in the Inner Loop her whole life. As a result of a war, food no longer exists in the Loops.  Everyone takes medication to ward off hunger. Her parents both work for the company that develops the drugs for the society. Even with the medication specialized for her metabolism, Thalia begins to feel hungry. She starts to take more medication but the growling doesn’t stop. One day, she meets a boy, Basil, from the Outer Loop who is part of an underground movement to bring food back. Through him, she learns that there is an entire world outside her own little Inner Loop and there are people who are also hungry.
This is one of a few books that have made me question our society today. 
People who live in the Inner Loop are considered to be “privies” who have unlimited access to the medication. People from the Outer Loop don’t have that chance and there are still hungry people among them. Thalia finds this out after the leader of Basil’s underground group gets arrested. Knowing the ugly truth about the Inner Loop and what her parents have started, Thalia and Basil set out to find the only thing that will quell the hunger, and soon become the most wanted people in the Loops. They end up at a place they never heard of --- a whole new world where food is still growing. This is whole different society than the Loops but Thalia quickly learns that different is not the same as better.
HUNGRY is Swain’s first book for teens and she did a beautiful job with it. Swain’s word choice makes the world of HUNGRY sound so real that readers can imagine themselves living there. Swain targets a hot topic, so after reading the book, readers will be left with something to think about --- they’ll be inspired to make some changes in their lives to help save the world before it’s too late. 
This is one of a few books that have made me question our society today. Whenever I wasn’t reading, I would think deeply about world hunger. It might sound very cheesy, but this book really helped me look at the world differently and also inspired me to make some small changes that hopefully will make a big impact to the world.

Reviewed by Thanh Tu N. on June 5, 2014

by H. A. Swain

  • Publication Date: June 3, 2014
  • Genres: Dystopian Fiction, Young Adult 14+
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  • ISBN-10: 1250028299
  • ISBN-13: 9781250028297