Children's fiction

The Hungry Ghost by H.S. Norup

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I picked this because it looked interesting, and I saw a review by another blogger who talked about its contents. I have not lived in Singapore (though I have visited), but I did spend five years in Hong Kong. I watched my niece attend school for two of those years. All of this background information is because I felt like the narrative provided quite an accurate representation of ex-pat life, especially for an almost teenager.
Freja has been sent to live with her father, a fact she is not happy about. Not because she has any issues with her father; in fact, she spends holidays living in the wild with him frequently. Now, she has to share him with his new family, whom she feels would be disloyal to like.
Once Freja arrives in a city/country with completely different weather than she is used to, she finds a version of her father she has never encountered before. As she struggles with her own emotions, she sees a ghost. It is that time of the year when the locals anticipate communication with those who have departed. Against all advice, she follows this ghost and delves into what she wants. She has some help on and off but largely takes all the burden of investigating upon herself.
During the day, real-life and its complications interfere, but Freja is a determined girl. There are many threads of mysteries that are revealed by the end. I would not recommend this to a very young audience, even if they are fond of horror(ish) narratives. There are issues tackled here, the gravity of which would be more apparent to a slightly older audience.
I felt like some plotlines could have been trimmed (the adventure in the forest) etc., since it felt like my attention was being pulled into too many emotional situations before any were resolved. Otherwise, it was an entertaining book with its own heartfelt moments.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

Mallika’s review is here

1 thought on “The Hungry Ghost by H.S. Norup”

  1. Like you I too, felt the themes it went into may be too dark for younger readers but otherwise I really enjoyed it. Freja’s reactions are pretty well done too, very believable for a teen in her situation. Glad you enjoyed this one as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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