Hungry Ghost (Paperback)
Like so many worthwhile things, reading this might be a confusing mess of difficulty and ease. This is the story of Val, a young woman who is desperately trying to be perfect and live up to impossible expectations, all at the expense of her own mental well-being. You flip through these pages and watch Val struggle with her eating disorder, which also causes strife with her family and friends. Even though this is fiction, I felt the story was an accurate, and therefore painful, representation of fighting with an eating disorder. It kills me that young people are held to these horrible body standards, despite all the progress we’ve made in the last decade. While the protagonist of Hungry Ghost is a young woman, I think this story is valuable for anyone who has struggled with body image. Lastly, I’d add that I can certainly see how this book may be triggering to people who have survived eating disorders or are currently fighting one. I still think this is an important story to tell, so if you’re in a place where you can absorb the message presented here, I absolutely recommend it, and if not, add it to your list to come back to when you’re feeling like you can absorb it without pain.
Available as an eBook— From Arresting August Staff Picks
Valerie Chu is quiet, studious, and above all, thin. No one, not even her best friend, Jordan, knows that she has been bingeing and purging for years. But when tragedy strikes, Val finds herself reassessing her priorities, her choices, and her body. The path to happiness may lead her away from her hometown and her mother’s toxic projections—but first she will have to find the strength to seek help.
This beautiful and heart-wrenching young adult graphic novel takes a look at eating disorders, family dynamics, and ultimately, a journey to self-love.
About the Author
Victoria Ying is an author and artist living in Los Angeles. She started her career in the arts by falling in love with comic books, which eventually turned into a career working in animation and graphic novels. She loves Japanese curry, putting things in her shopping cart online and taking them out again, and hanging out with her dopey dog. Her film credits include Frozen, Moana, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6, and Paperman. She is the illustrator of the DC Comics graphic novel Diana: Princess of the Amazons and the author and illustrator of her original graphic novels City of Secrets and Hungry Ghost.
"A gorgeously wrought, therapeutic story filled with tenderness and honesty."—Kirkus, starred review
"Ying gives readers an authentic, layered portrayal of disordered eating in both Val and her mother, sympathetic to each woman but also not letting them off the hook for their own contributions to a fatphobic society obsessed with making body size a moral measuring stick."—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"Ying's soft artwork, colored in pastel pinks and blues, nicely evokes Val's emotional journey through facial expressions and body language."—Booklist
“Hungry Ghost is heartbreaking, hopeful, and frank about figuring out how to love yourself and even the people in your life who might stand in the way of that self-love. It’s a beautiful, compelling book.” —Trung Le Nguyen, creator of The Magic Fish
“Victoria Ying gives us an unflinching look at eating disorders and loss in this heartbreaking story about learning to love yourself.” —Lily Williams, creator of Go With The Flow
“Such a beautiful, tragic, uplifting story about friendship and love. I wish I could have read this when I was a kid, but I’m also grateful that I’ve read it now. I’ll be thinking about its message for a long time.” —MariNaomi, creator of Distant Stars