Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts by Ying Chang Compestine

A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts by Ying Chang Compestine
Publication Date/Version: October 2009/Hardcover
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Henry Holt InGroup (Thanks!)

According to Chinese tradition, those who die hungry or unjustly come back to haunt the living. Some are appeased with food. But not all ghosts are successfully mollified. In this chilling collection of stories, Ying Chang Compestine takes readers on an exhilarating journey through time and across different parts of China. Hungry ghosts have prevailed - from the building of the Great Wall in 200 B.C.E. to the modern day of iPods - and continue to torment those who wronged them.

At once a window into the history and culture of China and an ode to Chinese cuisine, this assortment of frightening tales - complete with historical notes and savory recipes - will both scare and satiate.

Ying Chang Compestine has created a wonderfully frightening collection of tales, all while providing delicious recipes and interesting historical notes. When I initially started this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised, however. The book was set up as a meal plan with appetizers, main courses, and desserts. All of this went along with the theme of satisfying hungry ghosts. At the end of each story was a full recipe that connected to the story, along with historical notes that talked about key points in the story. Each was very interesting, and I enjoyed learning some new things.

The stories in A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts were quite scary. All of them tended to be rather gruesome, which I was surprised by. I definitely wouldn't recommend this to younger ages, as even I was grimacing at a few of them. Not for the faint-hearted, that's for sure. Also, each story had an illustration accompanying it, which only made them even more frightening.

In case you don't know, I'm a huge fan of anthologies and short story collections, so I'm happy to add another one to my book shelf. This book would be great for anyone looking for a scare or anyone who's interested in yummy food and interesting historical notes.

Overall: Delicious and scary, all wrapped in one! An exciting collection of creepy tales.

My Advice: I really enjoyed this book, but it may not be for everyone. Check this out from your local library to see for yourself.

Cover: What a cool cover! I like the title design and the image corresponds well with the book's contents. Very eye-catching. It definitely makes me want to open it up and take a look.

ps. Happy Thanksgiving! :) Enjoy the nummy (yes, I meant to spell it that way) food!


  1. this looks freakin gorgeous. I want it.


  2. Ooh, I'm happy to see a positive review for this! I picked up a copy at ALA and thought it sounded awesome. I'm a big fan of anthologies AND horror, so I'm thinking it'll be a thumbs-up for me. Great review, McKenzie.


Related Posts with Thumbnails