The Hungry Ghost


At first, Freja sees Ling, The Hungry Ghost, circuiting her father. Thereafter she follows her, travelling to the banned Bukit Brown Cemetery. Freja’s father and stepmother forbid Freja’s wild exploration such as she’d previously enjoyed for she is living with them now, in Singapore. Though it’s a new life with a new family in a new country, Freja is resistant. Thereafter, she wants to help Ling.

As Freja learns from Jason, a neighbouring boy, about the meaning of Ling’s appearance in the seventh month, she aims to help her. However as she discovers more, explores further, Freja becomes more deeply involved and further estranged from her stepmother and twin brothers. What is happening? Who is the boy whom Ling seeks? Thereafter who does Freja half remember? Does it have anything to do with Mum’s sadness, that has caused Freja to come to live in Singapore and leave Denmark? What of Dad?

The Hungry Ghost is an engrossing tale of a very different setting with various cultures, beliefs and a rich and layered history. Furthermore it is an empathetic tale of families, loss, emigration and change, and belonging. Bookwagon welcomes this book and recommends it highly to mature, thoughtful middle grade readers.

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The Hungry Ghost

H.S. Norup

(Pushkin Children’s)

Freja is determined to resist the welcome of Dad’s new family in her in Singapore. While her mother mends in Denmark, Freja is on guard, ready to explore, Swiss Army knife hidden in her pockets. Therefore, Freja is captive when she spies The Hungry Ghost, first alongside her father. Who is Ling, this girl in white, who leads Freja to the banned Bukit Brown Cemetery? Furthermore, what does she have to do with the gifts to ancestors and a seventh month?
With her father bound to his business and Freja’s stepmother attached to her phone it seems that Freja can escape to explore. Yet this is all beyond her understanding. Furthermore, as Freja learns about the cultural beliefs of Singapore alongside Ling’s attachment to the house in which she lives, something is stirring in Freja. What is her sadness? What does it have to do with Mum’s melancholy? Who is the boy whom Ling seeks?
The Missing Barbegazi is one of Bookwagon’s most popular titles. Therefore we welcome this new title from H.S. Norup. Again it deals with a different setting and new understandings for British readers. However there is such empathy, wisdom and inspiration in this story that makes us recommend The Hungry Ghost very highly to mature middle grade readers.


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