Started: March 6, 2017
Finished: March 18, 2017
Rating: 3.5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
I had really high hopes for this book, but I can’t really say that it lived up to all of them.
I’m a big fan of David Arnold’s work. Mosquitoland was one of my favorite reads last year. So I was really excited to get my hands of Kids of Appetite because I was anticipating another really great story. But something about this one just felt off to me.
I don’t know if it was the characters, or the plot, or the setting but this whole story didn’t feel right to me. So I’m going to break down what exactly didn’t sit right with me and then get into what made this book enjoyable, because I did enjoy it (especially the end).
Typically I don’t like when books feel like they’re trying to be “different” or “special”. That’s the big reason why I don’t like John Green’s books. If something feels like it’s trying to be different, or edgy, or special, then it doesn’t feel genuine. This book felt like that. It felt like it was trying to create an image for itself from the very first page, but it was trying too hard. As much as I loved Mad, she and Vic just didn’t feel real.
When characters don’t feel real, I find it very hard to connect to them. Mad and Vic didn’t feel like people I would meet in real life. Even though they were very round characters, they felt entirely two-dimensional. They weren’t characters that I felt attached to, and I just couldn’t fully get into the story because of that.
The story was another thing that simply didn’t sit right. Half of the time, the narrative didn’t make sense until certain things that kept being repeated were explained. I understand that that works in many narratives, but in this one it just felt weird.
Now that I’ve explained my main complaint with this book, let me tell you what I liked: the ending.
I’m noticing a pattern with books that I don’t particularly enjoy, and it’s that they have great endings. This story had one of those endings where it felt like everything simply fell and locked into place. I can’t give details because of spoilers, but it was the perfect ending to what felt like a very haphazard story.
All in all, I enjoyed David Arnold’s writing in this book, but I wish that the story and characters had felt a little bit more genuine. I may revisit this book in the future, but for now I’m off to other worlds.
See you next time!
NEXT READ: History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera