4 out of 4 stars
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Everyone in life longs for love and acceptance; this is the story of Aria Abbott. At age four, Aria’s mother, Lucy, met a man called Travis. After being introduced to a life of abuse and drugs, Lucy gets an overdose scare, and the authorities take Aria away. Aria, now 17, had lived in a group home for most of her life before going to live with the falsely religious Johnson family. A horrifying incident forces Aria to leave their home. Then she finds herself living on the streets of Chicago. Hungry, devastated, and with nowhere to go, Aria makes friends with Taylor, and they set off for LA, a land of opportunity. The harsh street life has opened Aria’s eyes in more ways than one. She is used to sabotaging herself and her happiness. So, when her salvation comes, can she recognize it for what it is, or will she condemn herself to a lifelong hunger of love? How does she even juggle being homeless with trying to be a normal teenager? You’ll only find out if you read Hunger of the Pine.
I’ll begin by saying that this book contains explicit erotic scenes, profanity, mentions of rape and violence, and instances of drug abuse. So, it is not meant for children or people sensitive to such things. At first, I could not understand what the title meant and how it related to Aria’s story, but I found out that this story could not have had a better title. Hunger of the Pine by Teal Swan is an impressive story of longing, hope, and love. I found the beginning difficult to read because of the emotional experiences of Aria. I felt so bad for her, but I had to snap myself out of it because I knew Aria wouldn’t want my sympathy. She would want me to make a deeply felt change about the way I viewed people; that’s how fierce she is. So, to me, that's what this book is truly about: sensitizing the world on the plight of the less privileged.
Teal Swan did a wonderful job with this book! I cannot express my enthusiasm enough! The story was narrated in the omniscient style, and I could feel and see everyone. I could feel their thoughts, their grief, and even their homelessness. The writer, through this story, opened my eyes to a whole different experience that I never knew how it felt: the state of homelessness. In many ways, I could see myself reflected in many of the characters that were introduced. For instance, there’s Aria, who only ever wants to feel like she belongs somewhere. Then there’s Taylor, who wants genuine friendship that he imagines everyone as his friend. There’s also Omkar, who falls so deeply in love that he’s willing to do anything to sustain it. There’s truly a character for everyone here.
One thing that I loved and even found unbelievable was the author’s ability to provide depth for every character despite the fact that many of them were from different cultures. No one character felt alike. There were Whites, Blacks, Indians, American Indians, and Mexicans; all their cultural backgrounds were special and distinctly written. This is a huge feat, in my opinion, because the author is a white female. To be able to put herself in the shoes of others like that was interesting to read. I enjoyed this book so much that when I was not reading it, I imagined the possible ways the ending could go, and I could not wait to get back to it. I did not find anything to dislike about it.
I did not find a single error. Even the punctuation was on point. This book received splendid editing. I cannot just recommend this book to one group of people; I think every adult should read it because it teaches empathy, and I believe everyone will be able to relate to at least some part of it. However, I especially recommend this book to lovers of romance. Those rebellious at heart might find solace here too. My rating is, obviously, 4 out of 4 stars!
Hunger of the Pine
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