Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2024) Featured Review:

  • Hungry Ghost
  • by Victoria Ying
  • First Second
  • Publication Date: April 25, 2023
  • ISBN-13: 9781250767004

High school student Valerie Chu is the perfect daughter. That means she does well in school, respects her family, and stays thin. She is also perfect at hiding (and denying) her bulimia, perpetuated by strict and toxic expectations set by her mother. The perfection begins to crumble on a class trip to France, when Val’s world is upended in more ways than one. Will a family tragedy finally push her towards help and healing? 

Hungry Ghost is a fictional graphic novel based on author Victoria Ying’s own coming-of-age experiences. Excellent line work and appealing pastels create a breezy atmosphere, mimicking the perfection on the surface that masks the pain and torment Val experiences internally, which are seen in her facial expressions. Readers who have struggled with disordered thoughts and eating will relate to Val’s preoccupation with food and body and how it interferes with every aspect of day-to-day life. Those who have struggled with perfectionism imposed on them by parents may also relate to Val and feel seen by this book. Hungry Ghost is a work of graphic medicine that the writer of this post wishes she had in high school and early adulthood. A content warning is given at the front of the book, while resources for readers struggling with disordered eating are listed in the back.

Readers who enjoyed the art and depth of Mariko Tamaki’s Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me will gravitate towards Hungry Ghost. Pair this book with Sweeny Boo’s Eat and Love Yourself, Embrace Your Size by Hara, and the Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman for a diverse group of teen comics that explore eating disorders and body image. Teens looking for low-barrier nonfiction resources on these topics could try You Are Enough by Jen Petro-Roy and the (Don’t) Call Me Crazy anthology edited by Kelly Jensen.

-Kelley Blue

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: May 9. 2023
Release Date: July 19, 2023
Release Date: July 18, 2023
Release Date: October 10, 2923

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.