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Hunger: A Tale of Courage

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  211 ratings  ·  64 reviews
It is the autumn of 1846 in Ireland. Lorraine and her brother are waiting for the time to pick the potato crop on their family farm leased from an English landowner. But this year is different—the spuds are mushy and ruined... just like last year. What will Lorraine and her family do?

Then Lorraine meets Miss Susanna, the daughter of the wealthy English landowner who owns L
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 13th 2018 by Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (first published February 2018)
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3.77  · 
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 ·  211 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Sheila Goicea
See this FULL review on my blog along with others at:

I received this copy from the publisher via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review
In August 1845, Phytophthora infestans--a fungus-like organism--attacked the potato crop in Ireland.

I wasn't sure what to expect going into this read, other than the fact that it wouldn't be an easy one to ingest. I really enjoyed getting into a different genre in childrens/YA, and hoped for the best, but simply wasn't as impressed as
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received this as an ARC on NetGalley.

I wasn't really sure about this book at first. The beginning seemed somewhat slow, and as the plot progressed the pacing of the story didn't necessarily increase (until the very end), but I definitely found myself becoming more and more invested in the characters. I've never read anything about The Great Famine in Ireland (only ever heard of it), so it was really interesting to read a novel based on that time period.

I can't say anything as to historical ac
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hunger: A Tale of Courage is set in western Ireland during the Irish Potato Famine of 1846, a time when a potato blight ruined the main source of food for Irish families. Hundreds of thousands of people died of starvation and disease during this terrible time. Twice that number is estimated to have emigrated to America and other countries in an effort to escape certain death. It is estimated that death and emigration caused the population of Ireland to drop between 20% to 25%, overall.

In this bo
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens, ya, audio
This was a great audiobook, though not a super cheery read while I was making turkey and decorating for Christmas. It includes historical notes at the end that are really great as well.
Ms. Yingling
Dec 31, 2017 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

The Irish Potato Famine was more devastating than young readers today can imagine. Told from the point of view of Lorraine, a girl whose father is a tenant farmer near Galway in 1846, we see just how horrific the lack of a major crop can be to a community already struggling under British rule. Lorraine's parents and young brother, Paddy, struggle mightily, eating soup made of local vegetation and keep warm at night only by snuggling next to their pig. Clothing and blanke
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Before I get to the actual story, I have to say that the part of this book that impacted me the most was the Timeline at the end. I listened to this on audio and I think the narrator somehow got the perfect tone for reading out the devastating Irish history. It made me shake with anger at the English and although I know I'm not as well read on the subject as I could be (or want to be), I know enough. Living in Ireland for 6 months and taking classes there only makes this book more heartbreaking. ...more
Courtney Reyes
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hunger: A Tale of Courage by Donna Jo Napoli is about an Irish family struggling. Lorraine, her brother Paddy, Ma and Da are farmers on an Englishman’s land. There are multiple other families with children that work under Da for the Englishman. Lorraine’s’ family can hardly eat. During this time the Irish are perceived as less than the English and they do not have a lot or get a lot. They work long, rough days and bare the cold winters and hot summers just to barely feed themselves. One day, Lor ...more
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book with all the plot twists and courageous things Loraine did in the book. The book is really special to me because I was always so exited to read it whenever I had a chance to. Because the main story line of the book was always changing I got hooked and know that that I am finished I wished there was another book coming off this one
Vicky Reads MG
Hunger Satisfies Appetites For A Moving Historical Fiction Novel

3.5 stars

You can read my full review on my blog.

FIRST I have to tell you, friends, that I’m not a fan of Donna Jo Napoli’s writing. I’ve read two books by her and started two more but didn’t end up finishing them. Gosh. I don’t mean to come across as bashing her books but there’s something about them that makes my mind put up a fight.

Her voice is often bland and slow and fluctuates between either overly telly or overly showy.
Jodi Gallegos
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Through the eyes of twelve-year-old Lorraine this haunting novel from the award-winning author of Hidden and Hush gives insight and understanding into a little known part of history—the Irish potato famine.

It is the autumn of 1846 in Ireland. Lorraine and her brother are waiting for the time to pick the potato crop on their family farm leased from an English landowner. But this year is different—the spuds are mushy and ruined. What will Lorraine and her family do?

Then Lorraine meets Miss Susanna
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Hunger by Donna Jo Napoli, 259 pages. Simon and Schuster, 2018. $17.

Language: G; Mature Content: PG; Violence: G.



Lorraine is a twelve year old living in Ireland during the potato famine. It is 1846 and regardless of the precautions taken by the farmers, the potatoes are rotting, and people are starving. Lorraine watches as her village grows smaller because people are starving to death, dying of illness or moving away in hopes of better o
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Like so many Americans, I can trace much of my ancestry to Irish immigrants who emigrated due to the potato famine. This novel tells the story of the suffering that precipitated the mass exodus of people to countries around the world.

Lorraine and her family live on the estate of an Anglo-Irish landlord, near Galway. The story starts off just after the first bad potato crop. People are still hopeful that things will improve. She spends time with her younger brother and the other children of the e
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review Hunger by Donna Jo Napoli. This historical fiction tale of the year follows the aftermath of the potato blight in Ireland, 1846-1847. Once again the potato crops aren’t doing well and people are contemplating leaving Ireland for a more hopeful and prosperous land. The sentence describing the people’s worries about traveling to other countries, where guns are needed to fight off criminals, and how they were so sho ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hunger is a great introduction for younger teens to what is commonly known as the Irish Potato Famine.

The story is told from the perspective of a twelve-year-old girl, Lorraine. Her family are tenant farmers and Hunger depicts the extreme hardships of the Irish people during the long winter with no food.

Because of a chance meeting in the woods, Lorraine meets a rich English girl, Susannah, who is the landlord's daughter. Susannah is privileged and has no idea of the suffering of her father's ten
Liz Friend
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
The story: Something dangerous is lurking in the soil of Lorraine's family farm. It will kill their potato crop and cause starvation. The Irish girl has to do her part to help her family stay alive...but will it be enough? Or will they, too, fall victim to the Irish potato famine?

June Cleaver's ratings: Language G; Violence G; Sexal content G; Nudity G; Substance abuse G; Magic & the occult G; GLBT cntent G; adult themes (famine, starvation, societal collapse) PG-13; overall rating PG.

Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book brought me to tears at times. As the grand daughter of Irish emigrants to the US, I closely identified with the characters. That of course, is the author's skill. The story grips your innards with hunger and truly makes you feel a small sense of the hunger and devastation that affected the Irish in the mid 1800's...a hunger caused by the potato blight at that time but more by the refusal of English land- lords to do much to help the starving as they (the English) sent boatloads of tena ...more
Bish Denham
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author, Donna Jo Napoli, obviously did quite a bit of research in writing this book and for me it shows in the small details of life in Ireland during the potato famine. So many things I never knew like, keeping a pig in ones cottage for warmth, being barefoot in winter, having only kale and cabbage to eat with very little or no protein, the horror of the English attitude towards the Irish...

When people are starving, finding and eating food, becomes central to their lives, and this in a cent
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Irish Potato Famine has always been an interesting tragedy to read about to me (same with the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire). While it was a devastating blight and result, it was perhaps even more tragic the way the Irish were treated by their English landlords. They added insult to injury. But as I learned from this book, their unwillingness to have dead bodies littering up the property, as well as the North American shipping need for ballast on the return journey, is what brought so man ...more
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

The Irish potato famine is often just a footnote in English history, if it's mentioned at all. I was aware of two successive crop failures, and that it spurred a diaspora. I knew that they continued exporting grain throughout.

I did not understand the reality of it, how the prejudices worked against them (and even came out of this period (view spoiler)). (view spoiler)
Kay Carman
Jul 28, 2018 rated it liked it
The Nory Ryan trilogy by Giff consisting of Nory Ryan's Song, Maggie's Door, and Water Street, would be a good companion to this story about the Irish potato famine, but from a little older perspective. Those books were juvenile fiction and this one is young adult.

The depictions of whole families slowly staring to death amidst brutally cold winters, the sacrifices made to try to save the most vulnerable among them, the ingenuity in finding something edible that could be taken home to be shared w
Shawna Busby
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
While the book started out slow for me, I eventually trudged my way and the story soon picked up. Shown from a 12 year old girl's perspective, it shows the trials and tribulations the Irish went through during the potato famine. Lack of food, money and the deaths and why so many moved to America. The thought of how the English landlords treated their tenants as if they didn't matter shows how there is discrimination everywhere.

The togetherness the family showed to one another and people around t
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
This book. Man. This is going to be something to tackle. I do not know what made me pick this up. I had never heard of it before. It was not recommended to me. I simply came across it during that perfect window of time in which I had just finished another book and was ready to begin another.

It tells the story of a family experiencing the great potato famine. In Ireland in the mid-1800s, the number one consumed crop was the potato. It was the main ingredient in all their meals and one of their pr
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lorraine and her family were starving during the Irish Potato Famine. Lorraine has some life changes after she met Miss Susanna and formed a strange friendship. Lorraine’s family had to emigrate to America or move to other places in the British Isles.
The book “HUNGER” was written by Donna Jo Napoli. This story uses the first person’s point of view from Lorraine. It is recommended for middle-grade students. The story is interesting and attracting to readers. The rich vocabularies make the story r
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This novel portrays an extremely important time in Irish history from the eyes of a hardy young girl. Lorraine is such a strong little girl, and she is forced to grow up quickly when famine grips Ireland. The author does a good job of layering in the prejudices the English AND the Irish held against each other without being too heavy-handed.

This would be a great read for kids interested in history, but is definitely a heavy read. The famine is portrayed very realistically.

Special thanks to Simo
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I really enjoyed this book though it was as heartbreaking as it was heartwarming. I loved the characters and I loved the dialogue and how even though it would be easily read by children it held my attention so that I finished it in 2 days.

It's been my goal this year to read more about people, places, and experiences far outside my own. And this book fit and satisfied.

I definitely recommend reading if you have any interest in Ireland during the potato famine or just in stories of famil
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Far more serious than Giff's Nory Ryan, Hunger describes the starvation and despair experienced by one Irish tenant family who rented, and the four cotter families who helped them. Lorraine meets secretly with the landlord's daughter in in small ways improves the lot of those she knows. Although the English believe the Irish lazy and stupid for having nothing to eat. In gradually she makes an impression on the daughter and eventually on the Master.
Valuable timeline of Ireland's history at end.
Shelly Shaffer
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a historical fiction novel that takes place during the Irish potato famine. The story, as told by Donna Jo Napoli, is heart-wrenching and realistic. With Irish roots, this tale caused me to consider the various reasons my own ancestors may have immigrated to the US. The main character, Lorraine, must take on responsibilities and roles that no child should have to. The lives of her family and small Irish community on the tenant farm in which they live depend on Lorraine. Can she live ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-ya
The Irish Potato Famine took its toll on the people of Ireland - hunger, sickness, death. Napoli captures this in her book centered around a village of tenant farmers especially Lorraine, the young daughter of one such family. She finds a way to help her family and others by befriending an English girl, a difficult feat in those times. A stark yet engaging story providing background on the famine while showing the Irish love of country and each other.
Donna Dobihal Smith
Although Napoli thoroughly researched her topic for this novel, the plot plods along until the last third, when it finally picks up speed. The relationship between the Irish protagonist and her British counterpart are what kept me the most interested, but those interactions were few and far between, and the narration monotone. Nevertheless, it's a worthy read put in the hands of a the right child.
Debbie Tanner
This is a moving story about a family and a community dealing with the Irish potato famine in 1845. It's a sad story about the Irish families that work the lands for the English lords and are decimated by the potato famine. It also has a character to give voice to the English opinions of the time which could be very interesting to talk about with kids-the idea of prejudice and how that's spread. I liked the story a lot.
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Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's and YA fiction. She loves to garden and bake bread, and even dreams of moving to the woods and becoming a naturalist.

At various times her house and yard have been filled with dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits. For thirteen years she had a cat named Taxi, and liked to go outside and call, "Taxi!" to make the neighbors wonder. But dear dear