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.
“And when the kids needed someone most, someone to love and trust, they found one another, and they called themselves the Kids of Appetite, and they lived and they laughed and they saw that it was good.”
I received an ARC of this fantastic book and I really wanted to post my review before the release date but alas, I am the opposite of punctual when it comes to blogging.
All these awesome new contemporaries are gradually bringing the genre to the top of my YA favorites ladder. It can’t beat Fantasy of course, but it’s getting there. That said, I loved this book!
I loved David Arnold’s writing style! To me, it was a mix of John Green’s existential questions to Jandy Nelson’s beautiful imagery of the world. The writing itself gives the story more depth than it would otherwise have.
Victor – Vic – is a teenager with Moebius Syndrome which is a rare neurological disorder that causes facial paralysis. Vic cannot blink or smile or laugh. So instead he smiles with his eyes and he feels with his heart. I thought Victor was a fantastic protagonist, at times reckless and self-centered but with good intention and a broken heart (over his father’s death).
The other characters were just as good. Baz, the group leader, who leads this ragtag team and takes care of them. Nzuzi, Baz’ little brother, who doesn’t talk but is a constant presence in their lives. Little Coco with an obsession with cuss words and ice-cream. And the awesome Mad who is always in inner turmoil for leaving her grandmother in a house with her abusive uncle while she stays with Baz.
This book explores some diverse topics like the mentioned Moebius syndrome, kids coming from abusive homes, death of a parent, racism and basically what it means to be different in a society that is terrified of the other.
The character relationships were developed well. My only complaint with the characters is the insta-love that is present, mostly from Vic’s side. It develops into something much more meaningful as the novel goes on so I was completely okay with their relationship. I do wish the relationships between the other characters were played out a little more but what was there was pretty fantastic.