24 October 2016
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake -- and her own.
Raina Telgemeier has masterfully created a moving and insightful story about the power of family and friendship, and how it gives us the courage to do what we never thought possible.
I love Raina Telgemeier's art style and her stories about those rocky middle-school/junior high years. Ghosts was a must-get at BEA and I'm glad I saved it for Readathon.
Ghosts was a fun story and a great mix of the real and the fantastical, so a bit of a departure for Telgemeier. There's also a lesson in honoring your roots and making the most of every day. I love the parents, Raina gives them a bit of backstory, too, which is sometimes rare in kids' books where the focus is on the child protagonists (and the parents are often dead/missing). The Allende-Delmar family is also a biracial family, which I'm glad to see in a children's book (particularly a graphic novel).
I am seeing some critical reviews calling out Telgemeier's use of a Spanish mission and the Dia de los Muertos cultural practices as a major plot point in the book. I'm not familiar with the nuances of that culture, so I can't comment on Telgemeier's accuracy. However, the use of Dia de los Muertos does feel very surface-level to me and could have used more development.
Dear FTC: I have a signed galley from BEA.