Catrina and her family move from Southern California to the coast of Northern California for her younger sister’s health. Maya has cystic fibrosis and the cleaner, cooler air blowing in from the Pacific Ocean is better for her lungs. Cystic fibrosis is incurable and Cat knows that someday Maya will die of it. Cat doesn’t want to leave her friends and start over at a new middle school and she feels guilty for not wanting to do what is best for Maya.
The new town has a reputation as a great place for ghosts because the townspeople enjoy celebrating Dia de los Muertos- Day of the Dead. Cat is frightened by the whole idea of ghosts and wants nothing to do with them. But Maya is fascinated with the spirit world and talks their neighbor Carlos into giving them a ghost tour of the old amusement park. On the tour, they do see ghosts and Maya is thrilled, but she has a terrible breathing attack and ends up in the hospital. She almost dies.
Raina Telgemeier’s newest graphic novel is the best one yet in my opinion. She captures the conflicting feelings that healthy kids have when they have a very ill sibling. Such as wanting to have a normal life and not getting as much attention from the parents while feeling guilty for being selfish when the sibling is suffering so much.
I also enjoyed learning more about the Mexican culture including their Day of the Dead celebration. Teachers will appreciate the pages in the back of the book explaining cystic fibrosis and Dia de los Muertos in more detail.
If you haven’t ventured into the land of graphic novels yet, Ghosts would be a good one to try. It demonstrates very well how complex the story line can be and still be told with only pictures and dialogue. Of course it’s a must-read for any of Raina Telgemeier’s fans who enjoyed her best-selling graphic novels Smile, Sisters and Drama. Suitable for ages eight and up.
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