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The Appetites of Girls

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  978 ratings  ·  150 reviews
For the audience that made Commencement a New York Times bestseller comes a novel about women making their way in the world. 

  Self-doubting Ruth is coddled by her immigrant mother, who uses food to soothe and control. Defiant Francesca believes her heavy frame shames her Park Avenue society mother and, to provoke her, consumes everything in sight. Lonely Opal longs to be
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published June 26th 2014 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  978 ratings  ·  150 reviews

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Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Overwrought, precious, obnoxious. Every character has exactly the same boring, stilted, stupid voice, and they can all shut up.
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.

Actual Rating: 4.5, rounded up.

The Appetites of Girls by Pamela Moses was a great read. It chronicles the life of four women: Ruth, Francesca, Opal, and Setsu, who each have their own struggles with family, love, and relationships. Intertwined with this, of course, is food, which plays an important role in their transitions from girl to adulthood. These four women meet in college, and from thereon after, remain close with each other.

From battlin
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobooks
I was underwhelmed by this look at four college girls as they take turns talking about their childhood and the reasons for their various eating disorders, neurosis etc. The Jewish mother, the adopted Japanese musical prodigy and abandonment issues all come into play in the lives of Opal, Ruth, Setsu and Fran.

The crazy thing is, we are given large chunks of day to day events in the lives of these women for the first twenty odd years and then poof, instant ending. It's almost as if the author had
Vikki VanSickle
An engaging and at times uncomfortably honest look at the lives of four girls who meet freshman year at Brown University. Moses checks in on the girls at three pivotal moments in their lives: adolescence, university, and their first few years in the workforce. Moses demonstrates that despite the girls' various backgrounds, they all struggle with identity, relationships, body image, self worth, and finding their place in the world. While their individual chapters are revealing, we also learn abou ...more
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
More on my blog at:

The Appetites of Girls is a story of four very different women from very different backgrounds thrown together as freshmen flatmates at Brown University. Despite their significant differences, the girls form an unexpected bond sharing their college experience. Thought this friendship plays an important part in each of the girls’ lives, they still manage to keep cer
Kern County Library
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-reviews
Take a look at this #book review, written by Michele at the Rosamond & Mojave Branch Libraries for The Appetites of Girls. Interested in reading the book? Place a hold on it in our catalog at

Fran comes from a traditional Jewish family who has a controlling mother. Opal is the daughter of a carefree, gypsy-like mother who encourages risqué behaviors and dress. Francesca’s world includes formal parties and social events characterized by her mother’s materialistic philosoph
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
In this thought provoking novel, Pam Moses offers poignant insights on the pressures young women face in today's weight conscious
world, expectations placed upon them by friends, family, and most significantly, the mirror. Through the voices of four college roommates, Moses brilliantly examines our emotionally charged relationship with
food; what drives us to indulge and deprive, display and hide our deepest cravings. The stories of Ruth, Opal, Francesca and Setsu are
deeply affecting; each showcas
Jun 01, 2014 rated it liked it
The Appetites of Girls
Pamela Moses

My " in a nutshell" summary...

The lives of four young women are shared and explored from childhood until they are relatively grown up. Pretty much...they are all insecure, have parental (mother) issues as well as major food issues.

My thoughts after reading this book...

I found this book...for be without tons of high highs or low lows. It seemed as though everyone's issues...were related to families...mothers in well as food. The food iss
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Our story begins in 2003, eleven years after the four young women who are the centerpiece of the story graduated from Brown University, where they were roommates during their matriculation.

"The Appetites of Girls" then slips back to the past, to the early 1980s, and we follow each of them individually, learning about their early years. Ruth, whose immigrant mother controls her through food; Francesca, who senses her mother is ashamed of her larger body, but who rebels against her by stuffing her
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
First of all, I need to thank whomever recommended this book to me. I had requested it from the library, but forgotten about it, so when it became available, the cover and title of the book threw me for a loop for a minute:)

Secondly, while there is a theme of the relationship women have with food in the book, a better title/description of the book would include how the relationships girls/women have with their mothers and how that relationship infiltrates everything a girl does, INCLUDING their
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminist-reads
The relationship each woman has with food in Western culture is very complicated, often fraught with strange rituals and beliefs, unhealthy behavior, guilt, and shame. While potentially triggering for those currently struggling with an eating disorder, the stories shared by the four women in this book are heartfelt and encouraging. From their friendship as roommates at an Ivy League college, each woman travels backward and forward in time, through their relationships with food and with other peo ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
[3.5 stars]

I really really liked this book, but I don't know if I want to give it more than 3.5 stars. I enjoyed reading it, I loved the parallels between the characters; how they are different, yet so similiar. I love the title, and the gorgeous cover. I found the ending too abrupt. Worth a one-time read.
Lindsey Lewis
Rating: 3.5 stars

NOTE: I received a free copy of The Appetites of Girls from Penguin's First to Read program. I received no other compensation for this review and all opinions below are entirely my own.

The Appetites of Girls is not an easy nor quick read. It is not a book that you pick up, flip through, and say, "Wow, that's an awesome book." It is a book that sits heavy in your gut, exactly like the feeling you have when you overeat.

The reasoning for this is not because the novel is not well-w
May 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: family, lit-fic
This book is broken up into sections - first by chronology and then by point-of-view. The first section, the coming of age of these four girls who will later become college roommates, highlights the differences between them. And though the title is catchy, a more apt title (for this section in particular) would be “The Mistakes (or outright cruelty) of Mothers.” Making these mothers - so far the only true women in the book - so unlikable and unsympathetic is a rather surprising decision for a bo ...more
WTF Are You Reading?
The Appetites of Girls is an eye opening look into the lives of four women, spanning transformative happenings in their youth, college years, and early adult careers. As readers are given the opportunity to explore and ponder the intricacies of each of the lives presented; a definite pattern emerges. Each of the young women featured here mirrors their relationships with family, lovers, career, and fulfillment with there relationship with food.
Whether it be eating as little as possible in order
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, fiction
The Appetites of Girls follows four women from childhood through early adult-hood. They meet in college, where they are suitemates in their dorm. Each girl has a distinct personality and a distinct relationship with food to go along with it. Two of them eat too much and two eat too little. The four women were well drawn characters. I did wish some of the secondary characters would have been developed more, especially Setsu's parents. They were just blurry stick figures in my mind. Speaking of Se ...more
Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews
I'd probably give this 3 1/2 stars.

The characters in this book are dealing with issues from their childhood that shapes who they are in college which in turn shapes who they become in their 20's. All have self esteem issues of some sort and they all deal with it differently. Ruth overeats, Opal embraces running & vegetarian food, Setsu doesn't eat much primarily due to the relationship she is in, and Francesca is a radical feminist.

All 4 of these women have something to learn about themselv
Monica Robison
Jul 24, 2014 rated it liked it
This enjoyable novel follows four women (switching perspectives) from childhood to young adulthood. The first half of the book drags a bit, and some characters are more fully developed than others. Yet Moses expertly captures the complexities of mother-daughter relationships and the difficulties girls face as they mature into women. Two scenes in particular stand out to me in this novel as being so devastating and well-written they remind me of Fitzgerald: subtle, with psychological veracity. Wh ...more
Rhonda Farrell
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in one day. It is an exceptionally well written novel about the lives of four girls who become college roommates in their freshman year of college and decide to remain roommates all the way through. There is such beautiful, descriptive character development within this story that I found myself just glued to it and just couldn't tear myself away till I finished it. Each girl has issues to deal with that mostly started way back before the college years and has carried over into t ...more
Rebecca Mckenzie
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
A fascinating debut novel by Pamela Moses that every mother of a daughter, and every daughter of a mother should read! Moses intertwines the lives of four very different women who become suitemates in their freshman year of college while uncovering their sameness. The title of this book couldn't be more apt and encompasses the emotional roller coasters girls/women ride throughout their lives and how deeply rooted these emotions coincide with ones' appetites, whether finding solace in gorging to ...more
Aug 21, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a debut novelist, so I will give her a bit of a break. Plus, the chapters about the main characters as young girls (and their food issues) (and their mothers) offer an intriguing darkness. I honestly wish this had simply been a vaguely sinister collection of short stories about young girls (and their food issues) (and their mothers).

However, this book is trying to be one of those books about four college friends who grow and change together. I will admit to enjoying a well-written book w
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
I finished this book in the hopes that at some point these girls would stop being a bunch of vacuous twits and grow some substance. Alas, I was disappointed.

As others have mentioned, all of these girls have major mother and food issues. It's kind of tedious to get through. Even though most of these women find love, it's glossed over and when the guys do have some interaction, bless them, they're as patient as saints having been rejected by these ladies at one time or another in the storyline. I
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent summer read. Easy to read, a timeless story actually, we all have friends, dreams, family expectations that transform us. Life transforms us.
I have older friends, grandma's actually, and everyone can relate to or plain enjoy this, my copy is being passed on to my special friends to enjoy.

I received a copy from Goodreads. I read this June 13, 2014
Well, I passed my copy around to a few friends and it came back to me Jan 2016. So I read it again. Yea I still like it. I have a new neighbor
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the best coming of age girlfriend book since Jennifer Close's Girls in White Dresses (which I loved!). Moses does an excellent job fully developing each individual woman's personality, story and "appetite" intertwining them all into an excellent examination of various types of female friendships.
Highly recommended!
Laurie Carlson
This book starts with a reunion of four girls who went to college together having a reunion eleven years after they have graduated, keeping in touch, as promised, back in college, but not in person until the end, finally, in celebration of one of the girl's expected new life is born.
This is one book all women should read! It helps us to see we are not alone in our journey through life as some of us can be so hard on ourselves with many things, especially about our weight/issues w
Whitney Schroeder
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very surprising and well done. I read so much and hear about all these books with relatable characters for women. I’ve never found one that hit home like this! Very pleasantly surprising.
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, fiction
3.5 stars. "The Appetites of Girls" is the story of for college aged women: Ruth, Francesca, Opal, and Setsu. As with so many of us in college, these girls are thrown together in a dorm suite where the beginnings of lifelong friendships are born. The title of this book deals with the fact that each of these women has dealt with both a physical appetite having to do with actual food and a mental appetite having to do with desire. All of their stories and struggles are different. This multi-fold t ...more
I very much enjoyed this book and while there's nothing entirely new here it was engaging and quite captivated me. Mother's loom large whether they are imposing their will forcefully or emotionally absent and food becomes a hiding place, a battle cry, an object of denial or fear. Still it's clear that each of the women were searching for happiness, peace and joy. I won't spoil but I'm glad they found it. I suppose many women will see themselves in the characters and I admit that I most identifie ...more
Katie/Doing Dewey
Apr 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Just as Tolstoy suggests that every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, this book shows that there are many unique ways for someone to have an unhappy childhood. The first section of the book, covering each girls childhood, was almost painful to read because all four of the girls' parents messed up so terribly. I was excited to begin the next section, reading about the four girls in college, because I hoped they would all help each other overcome the challenges they each faced. Instead, th ...more
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-books
Really enjoyed this coming-of-age novel that is told in character focused vignettes. Francesca, Opal, Setsu and Ruth each have their own well-written individual voices, but when combined create a story that is rich and enveloping. While Moses doesn't visit any new themes per-se (food issues, first relationships, self-confidence, etc), The Appetites of Girls still feels fresh thanks to the characters she overlays these familiar plot lines with. Broken up into several "parts", the novel maps out t ...more
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Pamela Moses grew up in New Jersey. She attended Brown University and received a master's in English from Georgetown. After graduating, she moved to Manhattan to teach English at a girls' school. She now lives outside of New York City with her husband and two children. THE APPETITES OF GIRLS is her first novel.