Hunger Moon

Hunger Moon

Sarah Lamstein

Twelve-year-old Ruthie Tepper just wants the yelling to stop.

Ruthie Tepper wants to make people laugh—to be a star on her own TV show. She wants to write stories as wonderful as the ones she reads in True Romance. She also wants her family to stop yelling—about money, about work, and especially about her brother Eddy. No one at school says hi to Eddy. He knows the name of every street in the city of Baltimore but can’t eat his dinner without making a mess of things. Ruthie is a good older sister, even though she can get mean herself. But she tries—she walks Eddy home from school every day and she makes sure to do her chores just the way her mother likes them done; she even gets nominated for class president. Does anyone notice? Is anybody looking at her? Her mother and father are too busy slamming things around. It’s not funny anymore, it’s really not, and Ruthie does the only thing she can think of to protect herself and Eddy.

At times funny, at times piercing, always honest, Hunger Moon is the stuff of real families, real growing up


  • Ages: 11 and up
  • Grades: 5 and up
  • Pages: 238

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Recent Reviews

Unvarnished and moving.

—Horn Book Guide

Lamstein’s spare first-person narrative deftly sketches a remarkably complex picture with few extra strokes.

—Kirkus Reviews

In brief scenes, like snapshots from an album, Lamstein depicts a 1954 Chicago family on the verge of breakdown. … A good choice for reluctant readers or for children suffering through difficult family situations.

—School Library Journal

Young readers will sympathize with Ruth’s experience of being pushed to the margins by distracted parents and feel empowered by her ability to tug her troubled family toward reconciliation.

—Booklist

Ruthie’s story is poignant, and although there is no upbeat ending, there is a sense of hope. Lamstein is skilled at depicting the unhappy family with a few well-chosen words. Ruthie’s growing awareness of her imperfect family, Eddy’s challenges, and the parent’s frustrations are revealed realistically and with sensitivity. The use of metaphor is effective: Ruthie’s mother always bakes her cakes from scratch, and although cakes are always plentiful in the Tepper household, the family is hungry for something beyond food. … Hand-sell this one to those interested in family relationships. It is well worth the effort.

—Voice of Youth Advocates

Ruthie’s vivacious character and exciting dreams capture the audience .... Her passion for what she believes in will leave the reader inspired by her persistence but aching for her in the end. Ruthie Tepper will steal your heart and make it impossible to forget her … a story of compassion, survival and hope.

—ALAN Review

Ruthie is a finely-drawn character who readers will remember and care about. A good read and even better discussion starter in a classroom or family.

—Children's Literature


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