cover image Kids of Appetite

Kids of Appetite

David Arnold. Viking, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-451-47078-2

Arnold (Mosquitoland) again showcases a memorable cast of outsiders carving out space for themselves. Bruno Victor “Vic” Benucci III, a 16-year-old Jersey kid born with a rare condition that leaves him unable to use most of his facial muscles, is reeling from his father’s death two years earlier. After his mother’s new boyfriend proposes to her, Vic bolts from the house with his father’s ashes. Vic’s destiny is changed when he meets 17-year-old Madeline “Mad” Falco, who is part of a gang of semihomeless kids who vow to help Vic decipher his father’s final note, which dictates various places to spread his ashes. Told through Vic and Mad’s alternating narratives, interspersed with police interviews centered around the murder of Mad’s abusive uncle, the story focuses on the unbreakable bonds of these forgotten, mistreated kids—who include two brothers born in the Congo and a brilliant, sharp-tongued 11-year-old—as well as Vic’s enduring loyalty to his father’s memory. Arnold writes with a Hinton-esque depth and rawness, building Mad and Vic’s stories with practiced patience. Ages 14–up. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Sept.)