Winner of the 2017 Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book!
“Funny, haunting, beautiful, relentless, and powerful, The Art of Starving is a classic in the making.”—Book Riot
Matt hasn’t eaten in days. His stomach stabs and twists inside, pleading for a meal, but Matt won’t give in. The hunger clears his mind, keeps him sharp—and he needs to be as sharp as possible if he’s going to find out just how Tariq and his band of high school bullies drove his sister, Maya, away.
Matt’s hardworking mom keeps the kitchen crammed with food, but Matt can resist the siren call of casseroles and cookies because he has discovered something: the less he eats the more he seems to have . . . powers. The ability to see things he shouldn’t be able to see. The knack of tuning in to thoughts right out of people’s heads. Maybe even the authority to bend time and space.
So what is lunch, really, compared to the secrets of the universe?
Matt decides to infiltrate Tariq’s life, then use his powers to uncover what happened to Maya. All he needs to do is keep the hunger and longing at bay. No problem. But Matt doesn’t realize there are many kinds of hunger…and he isn’t in control of all of them.
A darkly funny, moving story of body image, addiction, friendship, and love, Sam J. Miller’s debut novel will resonate with any reader who’s ever craved the power that comes with self-acceptance.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
For Matt, a high school junior in a crumbling American town, self-starvation has become an irresistible way to match the chiseled physiques he sees on gay porn sites. But with extreme nutritional deprivation come supernaturally enhanced senses—tools that Matt seizes on in his ongoing quest to locate his missing older sister. In this touching, harrowing, and self-aware story, Sam J. Miller deftly subverts expectations and blends conventions: the coming-out narrative, the superhero origin tale, Stephen King–esque horror. The result is a moving, original novel for anyone fascinated by the limits of self-control.
Matt, a gay high school junior, is bent on uncovering the reason his older sister, Maya, suddenly left town after meeting up with senior soccer star Tariq. Certain that something happened between Maya and Tariq, Matt works to earn Tariq's trust, ignoring his own attraction to him while planning his revenge. Though Matt insists that he doesn't have an eating disorder, he limits his food intake, believing the hunger sharpens his senses and allows him to see beyond the facade of everyday life. Each chapter opens with Matt's rules detailing the "art of starving," and readers will realize the depth of his dangerous downward spiral straightaway. Believing "if someone knows what you want, they can hurt you in all sorts of ways," Matt is a master at suppressing his urges, but there is nothing romantic about debut novelist Miller's portrayal of anorexia; his descriptions are often graphic and disturbing, and discussion of Matt's future is brutally honest. As Matt's body deteriorates and his "powers" reach new levels, readers must decide for themselves what is and isn't real. Ages 13 up.