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Hungry, by Alethea Eason


by Alethea Eason

Review by Scot Noel





Hungry is a delicious science fiction snack, all wrapped up in the guise of young adult fiction. Alethea Eason has provided one of those rare novels that can be appreciated by children and parents alike, which works on level after level to provide smiles and surprises for readers of all ages.

I don't seem to be the only one who agrees. With not a single review on Amazon displaying less than 5 stars for this tasty first novel, I was surprised that I had not heard of it sooner. I learned of Hungry by the happy circumstance of the author wondering by our website to ask a question.

My question is why Harper Collins did not promote the book more effectively and where is the sequel?

When I first started the book, I thought I understood the suspense meant to carry through the novel. Deborah (Dbkrrrsh on her home world) is an articulate sixth grade girl undergoing all the normal stresses of pre-teen life, with the addition of knowing she is part of a rather vicious race that, after studying mankind for years, is intent on making us their next major food stock.

When we learn it is necessary for these tentacled aliens to eat only once a year, and that Deborah's parents are hoping she will choose her best friend Willy as her next meal, I expected a series of tricks and turns along the way, culminating in Willy's life being spared and the story ending happily ever after. It is a children's book after all. But when the feeding begins, I find I'm not sure how much longer poor Willy really has to go!

When Deborah shuns human flesh and finds she can survive on fast food, I once again think I know where the story is heading, but soon after Dbkrrrsh undergoes a rite of passage that invigorates the young alien with the bloodlust of her species and has her declaring "We got a planet to conquer!" When she starts looking forward to how wonderful it will be to betray her former friend Willy, I started flipping pages faster and faster, impatient to see how Ms. Eason would extricate herself from the corner she had written herself into.

Along the way there was plenty of fun, especially with family social dynamics, including the arrival of Deborah's all-conquering grandmother, the addition of a young alien to whom she is betrothed but has never seen, and her mother's addiction to gambling in Vegas and the tunes of an ill-fated cowboy crooner. Poor dad only hopes the invasion gets under way before the credit card bills come due.

I also appreciated the fact that the invasion itinerary for the Supreme Imperial High Matriarch involved picking either Disney World or Disney Land as one of her first stops.

I won't spoil the whole story. It's too well written and too much fun; I only promise you'll be very close to the end, with Deborah fully committed to the invasion and her friends seconds from becoming appetizers before... Well, we'll just have to let you find out on your own, won't we?

Humorous, sensitive, and strangely realistic, there is much about Hungry to enjoy. It certainly whets your appetite for more.

© 2007 by Alethea Eason
EOS, An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers



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