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The Art of Starving
Cover of The Art of Starving
The Art of Starving
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Winner of the 2017 Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book!"Funny, haunting, beautiful, relentless, and powerful, The Art of Starving is a classic in the...
Winner of the 2017 Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book!"Funny, haunting, beautiful, relentless, and powerful, The Art of Starving is a classic in the...
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Description-

  • Winner of the 2017 Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book!

    "Funny, haunting, beautiful, relentless, and powerful, The Art of Starving is a classic in the making."—Book Riot

    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.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Sam J. Miller is the Nebula Award–winning author of The Art of Starving (an NPR best book of the year) and Blackfish City (a Nebula Award finalist and a John W. Campbell Award winner). Sam is a recipient of the Shirley Jackson Award and a graduate of the Clarion Workshop. His short stories have been nominated for the World Fantasy, Theodore Sturgeon, and Locus Awards, and reprinted in dozens of anthologies. He lives in New York City.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Tom Phelan's narration is flat and emotionless as he portrays the depressed state of 16-year-old Matt. Despite his gloom, Matt is determined to find his sister, stop his mother's drinking, and consume minimal calories. Each chapter begins with a rule Matt suggests for success in the art of starving. Phelan's dispassionate tone evokes Matt's certainty of these truths. Soon, however, Phelan's deadpan tone clashes with the extreme nature of Matt's beliefs and actions as his superpowers emerge. From that point, Phelan's voice is steadying as the audiobook shifts into magical realism, and Matt plunges deeply into his fears about his developing feelings for the handsome Tariq. S.W. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 15, 2017
    Matt, a gay high school junior, is bent on uncovering the reason his older sister, Maya, suddenly left town after meeting up with senior soccer star Tariq. Certain that something happened between Maya and Tariq, Matt works to earn Tariq’s trust, ignoring his own attraction to him while planning his revenge. Though Matt insists that he doesn’t have an eating disorder, he limits his food intake, believing the hunger sharpens his senses and allows him to see beyond the facade of everyday life. Each chapter opens with Matt’s rules detailing the “art of starving,” and readers will realize the depth of his dangerous downward spiral straightaway. Believing “if someone knows what you want, they can hurt you in all sorts of ways,” Matt is a master at suppressing his urges, but there is nothing romantic about debut novelist Miller’s portrayal of anorexia; his descriptions are often graphic and disturbing, and discussion of Matt’s future is brutally honest. As Matt’s body deteriorates and his “powers” reach new levels, readers must decide for themselves what is and isn’t real. Ages 13–up. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company.

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2017
    Gr 10 Up-The less Matt eats, the more control he has over his body. The more control he has, the stronger his powers get. And he needs his powers strong if he's going to find out what the bullies did to make his sister run away. And punish them. This is a compellingly narrated magical realism exploration of eating disorders, isolation, and desire. The first half makes for compulsive reading as teens watch Matt's war with his own body and the mysterious unfurling of his abilities. There are some well-crafted dives into how eating disorders are experienced by young men, and young gay men in particular. Unfortunately, the book's denouement falls largely flat, with pat resolutions and didactic twists, although it avoids the simple recovery trajectory trope. VERDICT A serviceable title for readers seeking an unconventional look at eating disorders and complicated gay romance.-L. Lee Butler, Hart Middle School, Washington, DC

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from May 1, 2017
    A bullied gay boy harnesses trippy, starvation-induced powers to avenge the disappearance of his beloved sister. Gay, Jewish, white, self-deprecating Matt hates his name but hasn't changed it because honesty is the best policy. And he is honest, quickly establishing that he has suicidal thoughts and homicidal reveries and his family is at the bottom of the financial food chain. That forthright tongue isn't fully reflective though, refusing to admit that his body dysmorphia and calorie counting = eating disorder. When he discovers that extreme starvation heightens his senses, the world around him begins to clarify (he can follow scents like a hound and read minds like a clairvoyant as his body slowly degenerates). Convinced that a triptych of king bullies, one of whom is dark and dreamy Middle Eastern Tariq, on whom he hates having a massive crush, is responsible for the disappearance of his older sister, Matt focuses his supernatural gift on them, hoping both to find his sister and to systematically destroy the high school ruling class--even if Tariq might secretly be into him. In first-person journal format, Matt schools readers on the art of starving as he toes the line between expiration and enlightenment, sparing no detail of his twisted, antagonistic relationship with his body. Matt's sarcastic, biting wit keeps readers rooting for him and hoping for his recovery. In his acknowledgments, Miller reveals the story's roots in his own teen experiences. A dark and lovely tale of supernatural vengeance and self-destruction. (Fiction. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from May 15, 2017
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* Miller's heartfelt debut novel tackles difficult subjects with a bold mix of magical realism, tender empathy, and candor. Matt, 16, lives in a rural upstate New York town with a single mother who slaughters hogs at the local processing plant. Matt is desperate because his beloved older sister, Maya, has left home, supposedly to record an album with her punk band, although he fears she's met a worse fate at the hands of a group of high-school bullies led by handsome Tariq, an object of desire for both Matt and Maya. Feeling powerless, Matt realizes he can maintain control over one thing: the calories he consumes. As he restricts his food intake, Matt feels his other senses sharpen to the point where he believes he has superpowers, hearing and seeing other people's thoughts, and influencing others with his own commands. Matt is delusional and anorexic, but he's also an admirably strong character who is out and proud, brilliant, creative, and determined to survive. It's not always easy to find novels with troubled gay male protagonists who aren't doomed, and Miller's creative portrait of a complex and sympathetic individual will provide a welcome mirror for kindred spirits.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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