Louder Than Hunger

Written by John Schu

Jake is a sensitive thirteen-year-old boy who is trying to find who he is and where he fits into the world. His middle school years have been horrible due to unrelenting bullying. Now during his eighth-grade year the VOICE that started in seventh grade reiterates the verbal abuse of those bullies. It tells him one negative statement after another. He wishes he could disappear, so the VOICE helps him to stop eating. Then, he can fade away. Eventually, Jake is admitted to a clinic to address his eating disorder.

Thankfully, Jake has an endearing relationship with his grandmother who understands him. While at White Pines he learns that his grandmother is fatally ill. She leaves him behind an unfinished letter that challenges Jake to give himself permission to live his life to the fullest by taking one step at a time.

This first-person, free verse story is based on the author, John Schu’s, personal experience. John, through the character Jake, allows us to see how a teen can descend into depression and an eating disorder due to bullying.

It is a story about learning to believe that we deserve to take up space. It is about hope, finding our people, and dreaming big. I read this book in one sitting (sorry hubby, I was not ignoring you last night). I learned that overcoming our challenges is about giving ourselves grace, being patient, and asking help from others. I would recommend this to sixth grade-up.

Reviewed by Kristen Hunt, Librarian, Whittier Elementary School
Review shared in April 2024
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 6-9

Louder Than Hunger
Written by John Schu
Candlewick Press
516 pages
Release Date: March 19, 2024
ISBN: 9781536229097
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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