Hungry Ghosts by Sally Heinrich

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"Once again the gates of hell had been flung open and the spirits were free to wander the earth". Sarah had been putting out offerings for the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts when she started hearing voices. It was difficult enough putting up with the taunts of some of her school mates about Chinese superstitions, but having a ghost haunt her was just too much.

This is a compelling story about Sarah who is trying to fit into Australian society as her father wanted, while continuing to adhere to Chinese customs to satisfy her mother. The relationships in the books are warm and satisfying, particularly Sarah's companionship with her father and her growing friendship with Michael. Her portrayal of the ghost girl, Pei, is both chilling and heart wrenching.

Heinrich has cleverly devised a story that will interest her readers, while providing lots of information about Chinese customs and the history of Chinese immigration to Australia.

A highly readable and thought-provoking story, Hungry Ghosts should appeal to upper primary and lower secondary students.

Pat Pledger