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The NECESSARY HUNGER: A Novel Hardcover – February 7, 1997

3.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Nancy Takahiro is a star high school basketball player who is smitten by a new player, Raina Webber. When Nancy's father falls in love with Raina's mother and the families move in together, Nancy's love for Raina becomes positively excruciating. This novel grapples not only with the awkwardness of adolescent love, but also with race: Nancy is Asian American, Raina is African American. And if that's not enough, it's full of information on college sport recruiting techniques.

From School Library Journal

Two young women grapple with the stress of competitive high school basketball, college recruiters, their sexual identities, racism, and the interracial love story of their parents. Enough here to appease appetites for drama.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (February 7, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684832348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684832340
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,337,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I started this book because it looked like it'd be a fun read: a gay sports story. Not that many going around. But by the time I 'd finished it I realized it was so much more than that.

The Necessary Hunger touched me on so many levels that it's hard to lay them all out in any sort of order. Nina Revoyr uses sports as a metaphor for life, for growing up and finding yourself. That in itself is nothing that special, because that's the meat of all sports stories. But Revoyr does it in a way that makes you feel. She gets into the mind of soul of an athlete who's just going through her growing pains, trying to figure out who she is. And as if that weren't enough Revoyr throws in a whole spectrum of other issues: class, race, sexuality, privilege.

This is more than just a love story. It's a story about passion and determination, of life and loss, and of daring yourself to take that one terrifying step into the unknown. Nancy and Raina are absolutely believable characters, so three-dimensional that they are bound to resonate with everyone on some level.

The greatest strength of this novel is that Revoyr takes everyday situations, the stuff that everyone has been through at one point or another, and puts her craft into them so that the resulting masterpiece is an intricate story based purely on emotion. She pulls you in with vivid descriptions of emotion, and does it in a gritty, realistic way that connects you with the character.

This novel is so much more than your average sports story. And it's worth every penny.
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By A Customer on October 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is the best lesbian novel I've read in a long time. Revoyr takes on many issues: racism, sexism, teenage issues, and of course, homosexuality. She manages to give adequate attention to all of the issues and write an engaging novel at the same time.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A raw but compelling first novel. Some fascinating insights into race, sexual identity, and girls' high school basketball. But the writing is rough and the plot sometimes meanders. Still, a great start to a great run of novels. Take a look at some of her others.
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Format: Paperback
One of many virtues in Nina Revoyr's "The Necessary Hunger", a novel about (among other things) women's high school basketball, is the juxtaposition of a portrayal of adolescents' intelligence and interpersonal sensitivity with their failures of imagination amidst the bitterness of their treatment in the surrounding culture. Their chief mistake is often a failure to conceptualize an identity outside the poignant context of the intensity, camaraderie and nurturance they find with their teammates on the basketball court. These relationships are portrayed with an authenticity evoked through remarkable attention to the details of characters' speech and athletic rituals. It is beautiful to sense the players' trust and warmth behind their banter.
Revoyr's attention to detail also gives her numerous insights into human character a value that would be lacking in a more grandiose, less grounded work of fiction. One of the things that haunts me about "The Necessary Hunger" is how it juggled a detailed story of sports and emotional intimacy with the existential and cultural conflicts that lie hidden for these characters, subtly drawing closer as the novel progressed.
I haven't been close to comprehensive in evoking the novel's range. Suffice it to say that this is the finest novel I have read in memory, and that I can't wait to hear more from Revoyr.
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Format: Hardcover
1997 was an exceptional year for first novels, and Nina Revoyr's "The Necessary Hunger" is right at the top. This gem of a "coming of age" novel holds it's own and deserves to be in the company of J. D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" and Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird." The story line involves Nancy Takahiro's reflection on her high school basketball team going into the play-offs during her senior year in 1987. My hat off to Ms. Revoyr for such a unique accomplishment and sensitive story. You won't want the book to end.
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Format: Paperback
This is the book you read if you want to punish yourself for being a romantic. This book takes you from the total high you have when starting a new book, to the point of just wanting to cry and scream at the impossible blindness of the characters. And that was not a compliment of wonderful writing on the writers behalf. Nina wrote this long ass story that takes you on this wild ride that never finishes. IT never reaches a climax. It just builds and builds untill she drops the bomb that nothing good happens for the two main characters. You'd be better of saving your money and going to a funeral.
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Format: Paperback
Nancy is a gay teenager of Japanese heritage living with her father in a mostly black neighborhood in Los Angeles. Life would probably be more difficult for her if she weren't a superstar basketball player. She is a celebrity in her school and her neighborhood, where she is respected and revered. It is thought she will be one of the lucky ones who will make something of her life, go to college and escape from the poor inner city.

Nancy is comfortable with herself, but is somewhat quiet about her sexuality. She doesn't date much, but she is madly in love with Raina, a black basketball player from another team. As luck would have it, Nancy's father and Raina's mother begin a relationship, and soon they are all living together in Nancy's house. Raina, though, is still as unattainable as ever. She is in a relationship, and she seems to sense Nancy's attraction to her and therefore avoids her a bit.

Senior year of high school is a busy time for Nancy and Raina. Both are being heavily recruited by colleges all over the country, and both are trying to lead their teams to championships. Nancy is also trying to figure out a way to follow Raina to college. But while she is so busy planning her possible future, is she letting the present pass her by?

This book is full of lots of issues. It touches on gang violence, racism, homosexuality, college athletic recruitment, teen pregnancy and inner city crime, and the difficulty of blending families together. Sometimes I felt as though there was too much packed into this one book, as if the author wanted to make sure not to leave anything important out. I did like this book, though, especially the strength and determination of Nancy in getting to college and getting out of her neighborhood.
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