Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
Feelings: I’ve read Telgemeier’s 3 previous graphic novels (Smile, Sisters, Drama) as well as the first of The Babysitter’s Club graphic novels she’s done. My students LOVE the illustrations and the way the stories are told. This particular story caught me a little off-guard. I had no idea what it was about, honestly, though; I just bought it as soon as it came out, knowing it needed to be in my classroom library.
I wasn’t expecting the main character to have a sick younger sister or for it to have actual ghosts in it. (I don’t know what I was expecting from a graphic novel titled Ghosts…) It was really easy to read and unlike some illustrated books, it wasn’t silly or empty. Graphic novels don’t have to fit that mold! Telgemeier continues to prove that illustrations can add depth and complexity to a story.
Characters: I loved that we had a young character in this story dealing with a life threatening disease. (I don’t know how to word that without making it sound like I love when children are sick…that’s not what I’m saying!) I just feel like a lot of people can connect to the family in this book and the struggles of having a fragile younger sibling, wanting to constantly keep them safe and healthy. The characters wrestle with the question of what happens after we die and I love how the author approached answering it. When the ghosts started showing up, I thought it would all turn in a hokey direction, but in the end I think it was well done.
Final thoughts: I really enjoyed this story. I liked how different it was from the other books (because Smile and Sisters are really similar, especially considering they go together). I liked the author’s take on the death question and how she celebrated a holiday that we don’t see in literature too terribly often. I love the multicultural family and friends. Overall, it’s just a good, solid read.
Pick this up if you liked:
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Goodreads rating: 4.36/5
Amazon.com rating: 5/5
My rating: 4.5/5
Happy reading! – Caitlyn