KIDS OF APPETITE by David Arnold is a tragicomedy of first love and devastating loss for fans of Rainbow Rowell and Jennifer Niven.
In the Hackensack Police Department, Vic Benucci and his friend Mad are explaining how they found themselves wrapped up in a grisly murder. But in order to tell that story, they have to go way back…
It all started when Vic’s dad died. Vic’s dad was his best friend, and even now, two years later, he can’t bring himself to touch the Untouchable Urn of Oblivion that sits in his front hall. But one cold December day, Vic falls in with an alluring band of kids that wander his New Jersey neighbourhood, including Mad, the girl who changes everything. Along with his newfound friendships comes the courage to open his father’s urn, the discovery of the message inside, and the epic journey it sparks.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve finished this book and yet I’m still struggling to write a coherent review. It’s not because I have mixed feelings on this book, but because I don’t think I have enough to say on it.
Kid of Appetite opens during a police interview. Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco claim they have a story to tell. A story that will explain how Mad’s uncle was brutally murdered. But to tell this story they must start eight days prior, when Vic fled his home with his dead father’s ashes. Within his father’s urn Vic discovers a letter with a series of clues to locations his father wishes to be scattered, and Vic’s determined to fulfil his final wish. Together with Mad and the other kids of appetite, Vic begins solving the clues and discovering a side of his parents that he’d never known about.
I don’t know what I expected from this novel exactly, but it certainly wasn’t what we got. If you’re looking for a mystery with cleverly woven clues that’ll make you facepalm that you didn’t pick them up sooner, this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a contemporary with a very small hint of mystery, you’ll probably enjoy this.
I don’t usually like comparing books or authors to one another, but I couldn’t shake the John Green vibes I was getting throughout this. Now, it’s not because I think this is a cheap knockoff of one of Green’s previous books or anything like that but because both Green and Arnold write very similar characters. If you’ve read a John Green book you’ll know he loves to write philosophical teenagers, who’re searching for the meaning of life or living by some eccentric motto. That’s exactly the types of characters you’ll find in this book. Which is probably why I had such a hard time relating to any of them.
If I had to pick a favourite character it would hands down be Baz. There’s something he says, I won’t spoil you by saying what, that was the highlight of the book for me. I also think learning about his history was a lot more interesting than the main plot.
I do want to quickly talk about the diversity within this book. Not only are there characters of colour but Vic also suffers from Moebius syndrome which is a rare neurological disorder that can result in facial paralysis. Not only did this book allow me to learn more about a condition I previously had little knowledge on but it really opened up my eyes on how people act around people with something like Moebius syndrome, whether that’s subconsciously done or not.
Whilst Kids of Appetite is a fast, well-written read, I only found the plot somewhat interesting and it was far too easy for me to put it down. This book had potential to be really good, but there was just something missing for me.
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