Louder Than Hunger (Hardcover)

Louder Than Hunger By John Schu Cover Image
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The instant New York Times bestseller!

Every so often a book comes along that is so brave and necessary, it extends a lifeline when it’s needed most. This is one of those books.” —Katherine Applegate, author of the Newbery Medal–winning, The One and Only Ivan

Revered teacher, librarian, and story ambassador John Schu explores anorexia—and self-expression as an act of survival—in a wrenching and transformative novel-in-verse.

But another voice inside me says,
We need help.
We’re going to die.

Jake volunteers at a nursing home because he likes helping people. He likes skating and singing, playing Bingo and Name That Tune, and reading mysteries and comics aloud to his teachers. He also likes avoiding people his own age . . . and the cruelty of mirrors . . . and food. Jake has read about kids like him in books—the weird one, the outsider—and would do anything not to be that kid, including shrink himself down to nothing. But the less he eats, the bigger he feels. How long can Jake punish himself before he truly disappears? A fictionalized account of the author’s experiences and emotions living in residential treatment facilities as a young teen with an eating disorder, Louder than Hunger is a triumph of raw honesty. With a deeply personal afterword for context, this much-anticipated verse novel is a powerful model for muffling the destructive voices inside, managing and articulating pain, and embracing self-acceptance, support, and love.

About the Author

John Schu is the author of the acclaimed picture books This Is a School, illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison, and This Is a Story, illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Lauren Castillo. He also wrote the adult study The Gift of Story: Exploring the Affective Side of the Reading Life and was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker for his dynamic interactions with students and his passionate adoption of new technologies as a means of connecting authors, illustrators, books, and readers. Children’s librarian for Bookelicious, part-time lecturer at Rutgers University, and former Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs, Mr. Schu—as he is affectionately known—continues to travel the world to share his love of books. He lives in Naperville, Illinois. You can find him at www.JohnSchu.com and on social media @MrSchuReads.

Praise For…

A harrowing and life-affirming novel-in-verse for young people. . . This is a hard story, raw and jagged in its emotions. But its core is hope. . . ‘Louder Than Hunger’ is a book that roars. It could save lives.
—The New York Times Book Review

A beautiful, powerful, and emotionally impactful book. Jake’s story will fill you with hope and the courage to face your own challenges!
—Jeff Kinney, author of the New York Times best-selling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

Every so often a book comes along that is so brave and necessary, it extends a lifeline when it’s needed most. This is one of those books.
—Katherine Applegate, author of the Newbery Medal–winning, The One and Only Ivan

John Schu has given us a courageous tale confirming that the voices inside of us—the ones trying to silence our lives—are real, but conquerable. This is a story of triumph, and I hope that for readers, Louder Than Hunger is louder than heartbreak.
—Jason Reynolds, former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Captivating, poignant, graceful, and so important. John Schu is a masterful storyteller, and his lyrical prose will be relatable to anyone dealing with self-acceptance. It’s the kind of book that adults will want to put into the hands of kids, but they won’t need to. Kids will be giving it to each other.
—Dav Pilkey, author of the New York Times best-selling Dog Man series

Told with brutal honesty, this is an important story about confronting anorexia’s all-too-loud voice and healing so it stays silenced—once and for all.
—Lisa Fipps, author of the Michael L. Printz Honor Book Starfish

Louder Than Hunger is a powerful and important book, giving readers entry into the world of a sensitive teen, struggling physically and emotionally with crippling anxiety and anorexia. Through his free verse voice, we accompany Jake into his honest, raw, vulnerable world. I think readers of all ages will empathize with him, worry for him, and root for his journey to understanding, recovery, hope, and joy. Those who know the author, John Schu, and have witnessed his boundless enthusiasm and legendary passion for reading and the transformative power of story will connect on an even deeper level upon learning that Jake’s story parallels John Schu’s own. From troubled teen to author and speaker surging with compassion and joy and willing to share it all with the world—that is John Schu.
—Newbery Medalist Sharon Creech

Masterfully lyrical, powerfully raw, and incredibly moving, Louder Than Hunger is a marvel. Jake’s story will break and mend your heart. A book full of unflinching and vulnerable truths, but also filtered with inspiring light. Necessary and important.
—Jasmine Warga, best-selling and Newbery Honor–winning author of Other Words for Home

Louder Than Hunger pours its whole heart onto the page, bravely exposing the raw spaces within to give readers that rare and precious gift: hope.
—Minh Lê, award-winning author of Drawn Together

Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. A raw, honest, heartrending story about shouting down that voice in your head that says you’re worthless.
—Alan Gratz, author of the New York Times best-selling Refugee

Heartbreakingly honest and unforgettable.
—Kelly Yang, New York Times best-selling author of the Front Desk series

A startling and honest story that will touch many lives. Just as Jake finds healing and joy in music and poetry and stories, so will the readers of this book.
—Rajani LaRocca, author of the Newbery Honor Book Red, White, and Whole

Sometimes hope comes along and it’s book-shaped—like this. Like Jake and his gentle vulnerability, his big, beautiful heart, his journey that will remind so many readers they aren’t alone. I adored every page of this story.
—Natalie Lloyd, New York Times best-selling author of A Snicker of Magic

Oh, this book! I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. Jake held me close and didn’t let go. He broke my heart and stitched it back together again. This is a life-changing book for anyone who has ever wanted to disappear. Masterful.
—Erin Entrada Kelly, author of the Newbery Medal winner Hello, Universe

Everybody seems to have a voice in their head that whispers bad things. But Jake’s voice is shouting and screaming. As he shares his amazing story, his true voice comes through. You will want to listen.
—Tom Angleberger, author of the New York Times best-selling Origami Yoda series

Jake had my heart right from the beginning of this powerful, moving story about healing and resilience.
—Supriya Kelkar, author of American as Paneer Pie

A must-read! Louder Than Hunger by John Schu shines a light on the power to quiet the voice that anchors doubt, tells lies, and steals confidence. The reader will root for Jake. Worry about Jake. Love Jake. His beautiful heart, his Broadway spirit, his bravery. This powerful heartprint story will change you. In the very best possible way.
—Elly Swartz, author of Finding Perfect

When we read an incredible story, our hearts can grow with every word. I do believe my heart grew three sizes.
—Pernille Ripp, educator, author, and founder of the Global Read Aloud

Jake’s story is compelling, important, and filled with vulnerability and love—a book with a raw and unflinching honesty. There are readers whose hearts and minds will be opened by this story. For some, it will save their lives.
—Pam Muñoz Ryan, author of the Pura Belpré Author Award winner Esperanza Rising

Louder Than Hunger is a book that everyone needs to read so that we can all understand what it’s like to feel so small that you want to disappear completely.”
—Linda Williams Jackson, award-winning author of The Lucky Ones

Jake is a character who will stay in the hearts of readers for the rest of their lives. I can’t wait for you to meet him.
—Colby Sharp, teacher, author, and reader

—Travis Jonker, librarian, author, and illustrator

The novel is written in verse from Jake’s perspective, allowing poignant access to his thoughts and feelings. Schu draws on his own experience with anorexia, adding authenticity to the voice. The author clearly cares about his young readers, checking in with them at the end of the book and providing resources about eating disorders. . . . Jake’s struggle with anorexia isn’t easy to read but his ultimate steps toward health provide hope, as does this much-needed and underrepresented male perspective on eating ­disorders.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

This heart-wrenching verse novel—inspired by the author’s experiences, as discussed in an end note by Schu (This Is a Story)—is an unflinching depiction of resistance and disordered eating recovery. Clever use of negative space and onomatopoeic phrases emphasize Jake’s feelings of anger, grief, shame, and vulnerability, while musical theater lyrics and letters from Jake’s grandmother gently buoy this raw read.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The emphasis on internal contradictions and the carefully rendered ending, hinting at hope without promising certainty of recovery, are especially honest and notable. . . . A sensitive, true-to-life narrative that is respectfully and indelibly portrayed.
—Kirkus Reviews

Pulling from struggles with his own eating disorder, Schu gives readers a searing, deeply intimate verse novel, depicting the emotional and physical devastation wrought by disordered eating with brutal, gut-punching honesty. . . . Disordered eating among boys is still an underdiscussed topic and this could bring some much-needed awareness.
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

In his author’s note, Schu shares how his own experiences with disordered eating as a teen were the impetus for this story, and a resource page concludes. This candid, challenging story will speak loudly to young people grappling with disordered eating and damaged self-esteem, as they will appreciate the honesty and healing it holds.

Whenever I want to dip a toe into the YA realm, I turn into Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer ('Your world frightens and confuses me.'), but there’s no way I’m not going to talk about Louder Than Hunger by John Schu. It’s a harrowing fictionalized memoir-in-verse about anorexia, OCD, and finding a way to a better place. I cried reading this heartbreaking book that ends on a note of hope. Louder Than Hunger will change and save lives.
—Travis Jonker, 100 Scope Notes

Wow. This memoir in verse is a powerful and moving account of a young man with an eating disorder and what he goes through to fight it. While the topic is a difficult one, Louder Than Hunger is written for tweens, and it serves as both a cautionary tale and the voice of someone who understands the way our own minds can turn against us in times of powerlessness and anxiety. For readers going through difficult times, or who want to understand this all-too-common disorder, Schu’s memoir is insightful and necessary.
—Amazon Book Review
Product Details
ISBN: 9781536229097
ISBN-10: 1536229091
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: March 19th, 2024
Pages: 528
Language: English