Because Cat’s sister, Maya, suffers from cystic fibrosis, the family decides that it best to move near the cool, Californian ocean air. In Bahía de la Luna, Cat begins to learn about her Mexican heritage in a city that is obsessed with ghosts. Although Cat is a glass half empty kind of girl, Maya is extremely optimistic and energetic. Maya convinces Cat to go on a ghost tour with a cute boy in town, Carlos, to prove that ghosts do exist. While on top of a hill at the mission, Maya suddenly has a breathing attack and is placed on a machine that limits even more of her daily activities such as trick-or-treating. With the Day of the Dead quickly approaching, both girls attempt to come to terms with dying as well as living with the help of ghosts, new friends, and family. Ghosts is a quick and visually stimulating read for fourth to upper middle school readers. Telgemeier has faced some criticism for inaccuracy in regards to missions and her ghosts, which I am not sure I agree with or feel really matters. The story is well researched and has strong and sobering lessons for readers of all ages. My only criticism is that I did not enjoy the bulging, googly eyes almost every time Maya has a coughing fit. My guess is that Telgemeier is trying to maintain Maya’s airy character, but accidentally—to me—stigmatizes her illness.
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier with color by Braden Lamb (Graphix, 2016)