When I first picked up ‘Kids of Appetite‘ I was reminded quite strongly of another YA, ‘Alex Woods Versus the Universe‘ (an awesome read). Perhaps because it begins with the main character being interviewed at a police station, or maybe because Vic is smart and has an unusual way of looking at the world – a bit like Alex. And this was a sign of things to come. A sign that I was really, really going to like this particular coming-of-age story, with its ‘Pay It Forward‘ ethos and page-turner quality writing.
Okay, so here’s the premise: Vic decides his mum’s new boring-lawyer-boyfriend is completely unbearable, so he steals his dead father’s ashes and hightails it out of their house. He then discovers, inside the urn, a letter from his father, outlining a list of obscure places he’d like his ashes to be scattered. When Vic meets Madeline Falco, who lives in a greenhouse with a ragtag group – mostly teens – who have their own troubled pasts, Mad offers to help him fullfill his dad’s wishes… And Vic accepts, becoming the group’s latest ‘Chapter’. This leads them on a journey which will ultimately end with both Mad and Vic in a police station, being questioned about a murder. Because, why not?
And the rare seeds which led David Arnold to write such a quirky mashup of a story? Moebius Syndrome; the Second Republic of the Congo Civil War (1997-1999); child abuse; SE Hinton; Matisse; side-ways hugs at funerals; fear of ‘natural’ food additives; and a love of ice cream, or salad wraps…
The Characters – 5/5 (eccentric and original, heart-warming and kind, awesome and funny)
The Dialogue – 5/5 (something special)
The Writing – 5/5 (beautiful, lyrical, honest, poetic, approachable, smart, vivid…)
The Level of Crazy – 4.5/5 (madcap adventure)
The YA Romance Angle – 4/5 (low-key, sweet, realistic, creative)
You know the places on this list. Take me there, won’t you?
Till we’re old-new,
1. Hang me from the Parlour. 2. Toss me off the Palisades.
3. Bury me in the smoking bricks of our first kiss. 4. Drown me in our wishing well.
5. Drop me from the top of our Rock.