Kids of Appetite - David Arnold

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.

A lot of people really liked the book Wonder. I was not really one of those people. I felt manipulated, and I felt like the condition of the main character was being used to make me emotional. This was not the case with Kids of Appetite. I am not trashing Wonder, mind you, but rather I am noting the similarities in the condition of the protagonists. Arnold's new book is strong. I liked Mosquitoland for a lot of reasons, but I found this novel to be much stronger overall. The relationships and general connections between everyone involved were rich, and the narrative style kept me engaged.

I liked the back and forth nature of the narrative, the way that each section started with interviews with the police in relation to the main events (deaths) that we know occurred at the beginning of the novel. I appreciate the rawness of this text, and the complexity of each character's narrative arc. This is a book that I would most definitely share with others and hope will become more popular than, or at least as popular as, Wonder.



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