The Art of Starving

The Art of Starving

by Sam J. Miller


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Winner of the 2017 Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book!

“Funny, haunting, beautiful, relentless, and powerful, The Art of Starving is a classic in the making.”—Book Riot

Matt hasn’t eaten in days. His stomach stabs and twists inside, pleading for a meal, but Matt won’t give in. The hunger clears his mind, keeps him sharp—and he needs to be as sharp as possible if he’s going to find out just how Tariq and his band of high school bullies drove his sister, Maya, away.

Matt’s hardworking mom keeps the kitchen crammed with food, but Matt can resist the siren call of casseroles and cookies because he has discovered something: the less he eats the more he seems to have . . . powers. The ability to see things he shouldn’t be able to see. The knack of tuning in to thoughts right out of people’s heads. Maybe even the authority to bend time and space.

So what is lunch, really, compared to the secrets of the universe?

Matt decides to infiltrate Tariq’s life, then use his powers to uncover what happened to Maya. All he needs to do is keep the hunger and longing at bay. No problem. But Matt doesn’t realize there are many kinds of hunger…and he isn’t in control of all of them.

A darkly funny, moving story of body image, addiction, friendship, and love, Sam J. Miller’s debut novel will resonate with any reader who’s ever craved the power that comes with self-acceptance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062456724
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 116,106
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 13 Years

About the Author

Sam J. Miller lives in New York City with his husband. He is the winner of the 2018 Andre Norton Award for his YA debut novel, The Art of Starving. His fiction has been nominated for the Nebula Award and the Theodore Sturgeon Award, was longlisted for the Hugo Award, and has won the Shirley Jackson Award. Sam is also the author of the adult fiction novel Blackfish City. Visit Sam online at

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The Art of Starving 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars Matt was planning to leave but his sister Maya beat him to it. The details of her absence are unknown to Matt but it’s something that he’s working on. He feels it has something to do with Tariq and his groupies and Matt feels he needs to get to Tariq to honestly find out the details. Matt’s mother is no help and doesn’t seem that concerned over Maya’s disappearance. His father, he knows only the details his mother tells him about the man who walked out of his life, the details now are slim. Tariq and Matt run in two different circles, two totally opposite circles and Matt knows that he needs to make a plan, if he’s going to approach Tariq. I felt sorry for Matt as he traffics his way through school, his peers jeering remarks stabbing him as they poke fun at his uniqueness. Their lies an issue with Matt that consumes him. It’s an eating disorder. Matt claims control over this aspect of his life only it’s destroying him. As Matt looks at himself, he sees a boy with many flaws, flaws that he feels he can correct by his diet. It becomes a battle as Matt tries to gain control over this aspect of his life. An internal battle, one that will never go away unless Matt decides to tackle it head on. As Matt counts his calories, his self-image doesn’t change but he feels he is gaining superpowers with his other senses. These superpowers confused me in the novel as I could understand his feeling of heighten awareness but the extreme that these powers became, seemed absurd. I started to question Matt and the powers that he said he had. Committed to finding the answer about his sister whereabouts and reading about Matt’s struggle with food, I enjoyed this novel. My only concern was about the superpowers and their reasonableness.