I am currently reading The Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac with my middle school classes (or, rather, they are reading it to me), and so far they really enjoy it for a few reasons: 1) the book basically starts with a girl telling a story about a man getting so hungry that he eats his own fingers and legs, and then he devours his family shortly before the rest of his village, and 2) see number one.
Anyway, it is really brutal stuff, but it’s also what makes this book original and fun for the season (it also helps that Bruchac is a great writer).
Here’s the synopsis of the novel:
“Molly remembers the Mohawk legend of a man so hungry he ate himself and everyone in his village, except for one brave girl. Now her parents have mysteriously disappeared, and an unknown great-uncle has shown up to claim her. He has fingers like talons and eyes like twin blue flames. Somehow Molly must escape to find her parents – because the Skeleton Man may be more than just a legend!”(Scholastic)
I don’t want to spoil much else, because I don’t want to ruin it but it’s a quick read, and it’s also steeped in a Mohawk legend so you get some real-life indigenous stories interjected into the fantastical nature of the tale, which can help you relate more closely to the subject material as an adult. But, you know, just because it’s written for younger people doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it with an older brain (that’s the beauty of a really good story).