Ghosts

by Raina Telgemeier

Other authorsRaina Telgemeier (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2016

Call number

J GRAPHIC NOVEL TEL

Genres

Publication

Graphix (2016), Edition: Illustrated, 256 pages

Description

Catrina and her family have moved to the coast of Northern California for the sake of her little sister, Maya, who has cystic fibrosis--and Cat is even less happy about the move when she is told that her new town is inhabited by ghosts, and Maya sets her heart on meeting one.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Brainannex
A new Raina Telgemeier book is always cause for celebration. Here, a young girl with a very sick sister moves with her family to a new town that may or may not be haunted. As always, the art is beautiful and the small changes in facial expression are what make her great.
LibraryThing member Salsabrarian
An enjoyable and touching take on the Day of the Dead with plenty of magical realism. Cat and her family move to a coastal town in Northern California in hopes the weather will be better for little sister's Maya's cystic fibrosis. Maya takes immediately to the town lore of ghosts everywhere; Cat is
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frightened by the prospect. Besides trying to settle into a new town and school and meeting new friends, Cat must also keep Maya's welfare in mind. An amazing Day of the Dead festival in town reverses Cat's fears, loosening her up to "just go with it." Telgemeier always knows how to tap into a young teen's deepest insecurities and lay them out in a way readers can identify with. One thing I appreciated about Cat's story is that while their family is biracial, they're not in touch with the Mexican side of their heritage. Cat's mother was never interested in picking up the ways of her immigrant parents and doesn't speak Spanish. This is an aspect that rings true for many like families and although it's a small part of the book, it weighs greatly in Cat's coming-of-age moment.
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LibraryThing member jmoncton
Graphic novels aren't typically my genre, but I enjoyed this story and was surprised by how much it touched me!
LibraryThing member sweetiegherkin
Cat is less than thrilled when her family moves to a chilly coastal California town, and even less happy to discover her new neighbors are obsessed with ghosts, telling her that the fog of the town attracts spirits all year round but most especially on the Day of the Dead. But the weather is also
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supposed to improve the health of Maya, Cat's younger sister who has cystic fibrosis. And, Maya is super interested in learning more about the ghosts in town.

I loved Telgemeier's two nonfiction books and her other graphic novel Drama, so I decided to grab this one when I saw it on the shelf at my local library. The family dynamics, especially the relationship between the two sisters, was done just as well as in Telgemeier's other books. Likewise for the friendship angles and the little romantic elements, although these were of smaller significance in this title. This book is heavier than her other works because of Maya's illness, which results in discussions about death and loss. The illustrations are very typical of Telgemeier -- full of expression, personality, and detail. I was also excited to see more diversity in this book, particularly with the main characters being daughters of a Caucasian father and a Latina mother.

For me -- and I know this might not be an issue for every reader -- the real letdown in the book was that the ghosts are real. At first they are just these weird amorphous eel-like specters floating around, but they turn in to distinguishable skeletons when people get closer. And, on Dia de los Muertos, they also dance, talk, and fly people through the air by holding their hands. The skeptic in me just wasn't really into any of this.

Overall though, it's a sweet story about sisterhood and coming to terms with mortality. Cat's concern for her sister is touching and two of Maya's scenes are particularly heart-breaking -- one where she insists she has to speak with the ghosts because she wants to ask them what dying is like and another where she asks her parents why she can't engage in slightly high-risk activities (e.g., trick or treating on a chilly Halloween night) when they all know she is going to die anyway so she should be able to have fun while she's still alive.

This book does seem to fairly popular with its target audience of middle schoolers; I see it circulating at the library a lot, but I haven't gotten any intended audience feedback yet.
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LibraryThing member ChristianR
Another great graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier. In this one the protagonist's sister has cystic fibrosis and so the family has to move to a place that is colder and less sunny -- and Cat learns that it has ghosts! Cat finds ghosts very frightening, but Maya is more exuberant and interested in
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meeting ghosts, especially since she thinks she may die soon.
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LibraryThing member electrascaife
Fun, and sweet in parts, but not as enjoyable as Drama, as it seems to me. Still, definitely worth an hour of one's time.
LibraryThing member krau0098
This book has a lot of interesting and unique elements to it but I personally didn’t enjoy it that much; it was pretty depressing. Basically Cat and her family have to move to this small town because of her sister, Maya’s cystic fibrosis. Once they get there they find out that ghosts inhabit
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the town but that they are not as scary as Cat originally thought.

There is a lot of good stuff in this book. There’s information on cystic fibrosis and a lot of history and background on Mexican culture. The pictures are well drawn, easy to follow, and brightly colored.

The story is very straight-forward and will be easy for younger readers to follow. However, the subject matter is pretty heavy for younger readers. Basically the family moved to this town so Maya could live a little longer. Maya’s interaction with the ghosts are basically preparing her to be okay with dying at a young age.

While this would be a great book for families that are struggling with a similar situation it’s a bit heavy for your general young reader. My 10 year old son was not a fan; he thought it was boring and kind of sad. I think he actually missed the broader message but told me “not much happened and it’s sad her sister is dying.” So while he was super excited to read it he ended being pretty let down.

I kind of felt the same way. This is one of those books that I think adults will think is awesome for kids but that kids actually won’t like much. It’s a kids book for adults mainly. I didn’t enjoy it because it was so depressing and I am not a huge fan of books that leave me feeling sad and depressed.

I did enjoy the illustration and some of the scenes with the ghosts. I loved how the characters actually get to interact with some of their ancestors and how the story tries to spin death to be a not-so-bad thing.

Overall there are a lot of things done well in this book (it packs in discussion about cystic fibrosis, Mexican culture, life and death, and sacrifice for your family) but it’s a bit of a heavy read for its intended age group. It’s one of those tear-jerker types of reads that leave you feeling sad and depressed. I won’t really recommend for the middle grade crowd unless they are in a situation similar to the main character.
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LibraryThing member kmjanek
This graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier is very touching. The story starts with Cat and Maya moving from their home on southern California to the northern coast of California. Maya is the younger sister and has cystic fibrosis. Cat is a little resentful to leave behind her home and her friends, but
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she understands that it is better for her sister and she does love her sister. They meet their neighbor Carlos who is into looking for ghosts. As the story develops, we see the reason for his interest in ghosts is tied to Dia de los Muertos and the reason for what the day represents. Cat is afraid of the ghosts and she does not want to consider what might happen to her little sister as she gets older. As Cat learns a little more about Carlos, we get a peek at their developing relationship.

I’m not going to lie, I was expecting this story to be a tearjerker and I was thrilled that it was more informative about cystic fibrosis and Dia de los Muertos. I was not mentally prepared to cry. Telgemeier is gifted in conveying strong feelings and emotions in her illustrations. The illustrations are bright and happy. Some of the panels that contain ghosts are appropriately subdued to convey a haunting feeling. It is not scary for younger readers. It is filled with positive relationships between siblings, parents, neighbors and friends. It is apparent that a lot of research went into this book.

I highly recommend this book for school libraries. I think it would be appropriate for upper elementary, middle and some high school students. Visual art teachers could share this book to show how artists can create books/graphic novels. For younger readers it could be a good introduction to cystic fibrosis, especially if they have a friend or family member suffering from this disease. I also think it would be a great classroom read for a spanish culture unit on the Day of the Dead. It is also a great pick for showing diversity in books. Many of the characters are Mexican or Mexican-American. Cat’s new friend is Asian-American. There is a positive representation of different cultures and accepting who we are. The author’s note at the end of the book was very informative. I read through the whole thing because it was so interesting.
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LibraryThing member Beammey
I've been trying to read more graphic novels and I heard this one was pretty good. I wasn't let down. The art is so vibrant and just jumps off the page and the story line is great for a kid, though I think any age would be able to relate to some of the characters in this book. I'll for sure be on
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the look out for more novels by this author. 5 out of 5 stars.
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LibraryThing member tapestry100
A cute and touching story about the bonds between sisters, told with the backdrop of Dia de los Muertos. Catrina and her family has moved to the northern coast of California so that her sister Maya, who has cystic fibrosis, has a better time breathing with the cool salty air off the ocean. Catrina
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does not like having to have moved away from her friends, but has done so begrudgingly for her sister. When she and Maya discover that there are ghosts in their new town, they are taught about some of the history of Dia de los Muertos and also learn a little about respecting those that have passed. I sometimes think that the explanations around Dia de los Muertos seemed maybe a little too simplistic, but that may just be me. If nothing else, it has made me want to learn a little more about the history and traditions surrounding the day.
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LibraryThing member pennykaplan
Very enjoyable and touching graphic novel about a sixth grader, Catrina, whose family moves to a Northern California town because Maya, her younger sister, has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the fog and climate. But soon Catrina discovers that there are ghosts who frighten her but not her
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exuberant sister. A Hispanic family and a bit of the occult make this an exciting read for 4-6th graders.
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LibraryThing member foggidawn
When Cat's family moves to a quirky little town in northern California for her younger sister's health, she discovers that the entire town has a fascinations with ghosts, as evidenced in part by their Day of the Dead festivities. Will encountering the town spirits help her come to terms with her
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own questions about the afterlife?

Telgemeier's books are all kinds of fun to read, and I'm sure this one will garner plenty of fans. Other reviewers have raised questions about cultural appropriation and accuracy, and those are valid concerns, so I'd recommend pairing this with informational literature about the region and the holiday in question, in order to get a more rounded picture.
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LibraryThing member lillibrary
Dia de los Muertos becomes the vivid backdrop to this sweet graphic novel about two sisters, Catrina and Maya, who move with their parents to a northern California coastal town for Maya's health, who suffers from cystic fibrosis.
LibraryThing member celesteporche
Right before the beginning of 6th grade, Cat's family moves to Bahia de la Luna, California so that her younger sister Maya can receive better treatment for her cystic fibrosis. The entire town, including Carlos, the neighbor who Cat bumps into at school, seems obsessed with ghosts, but Cat isn't
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buying it. Could there be more to these local legends about the spirits of those who have passed visiting their earthly brethren? Cat and Maya will find out, being that Dia de los Muertos is so near.
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LibraryThing member ladycato
There has been a lot of buzz about this graphic novel, so I bought it for my 6th grade son to read. Overall, I think it works well as a middle grade book, though as an adult ponder other elements here.

Ghosts follows young Catrina who moves with her family from southern California to the northern
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coast, where the environment may prove healthier for her little sister, Maya, who has cystic fibrosis. The book excels in showing family relationships. Cat is full of adolescent attitude and carries understandable resentment for bring forced to move to this new town in the middle of nowhere. She adores Maya, though, and does what she can to take care of her sister. Their mother also has considerable depth as she begins to rediscover the Mexican roots that she shunned in her younger years.

Bahia de la Luna has ghosts. A LOT of ghosts. Their numbers only increase as the calendar ticks down to the Day of the Dead, when the town erupts in a great big party. It seemed really weird to me that only the kids in town acknowledge the ghosts all year long. The illustrations are fantastic--she depicts California perfectly--and the details in the Día de los Muertos scenes are extraordinary.

I think my son is worried that this book might be scary. While there are some tense moments as Cat meets her first ghosts, it is NOT a horror book at all. ALL of the ghosts are friendly and happy to party... which is another thing that struck me as odd. I didn't expect any creepy, vicious kinds of ghosts, but this extreme came as a surprise. I have seen other book reviews criticize the book because the mission--the central focus of the ghosts in town--has older ghosts who only speak Spanish, and no mention is made of the native people who would have died in great numbers at such a place. That erasure is a valid concern. It seems the author intended missions to be a light California historical reference within the story--but it is really a deep topic, and one that would diverge from the major themes in the novel. Maybe she could have skirted around that by making the location an old church, not one of the original missions, as she kinda opened a big can of worms there. There is also criticism of how she represents Día de los Muertos, but I can't speak of that with any authority since I have never celebrated the day.

That said, the book does make for a good read for middle graders because of how it explores family relationships,love, and the struggle to grow up. It's wonderful to see Hispanic children as the lead characters. The ghosts felt odd to me, convenient and happy plot points to provoke a change in Cat, but kids will probably appreciate a non-scary take on the supernatural. Maybe the book's weaker points will provide a good starting point for a conversation on the mission system and how Día de los Muertos is really celebrated.
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LibraryThing member savageknight
Just when you think you can't love Raina's books any more than you already do, she releases Ghosts and you find yourself even more immersed in her book than ever before! When I first started reading Ghosts I had to slow myself down so I wouldn't rush through it. As much as I wanted to know what
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happened to this family I was introduced to, I quickly realized that every page was filled with magic. The vibrant colors, the expressive characters, and the scenery in each panel made the experience that much more enjoyable.

We learn about Cat and Maya and what made their family decide to move to Bahia de la Luna and slowly discover (with them) what makes this place unique and special. It's not just the Ghosts, but about the "relationship" the city has with its ghostly inhabitants. As Cat learns to make friends and we get to see more of Bahia de la Luna, we start to realize that there's a lot more to Cat's fear than just what's at the surface!

As we finally get to the Day of the Dead festival, Cat gets to acknowledge her fears amidst meeting and speaking with some of those ghosts during both heartwarming and heart-wrenching moments. It is a beautiful book that left this reader quite emotional at the end but also in a very happy place. Having been able to lay her fears aside enabled Cat and Maya to accept the future and to enjoy the present. And when it comes time to think about Ghosts and magic and the love of our ancestors, Raina (through Cat) sums it up perfectly in that you simply need to "just go with it"

Congrats Raina and Scholastic on another fantastic book!
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LibraryThing member LibraryGirl11
Beautifully drawn graphic novel about a family that moves to Bahia de la Luna for the climate--the youngest daughter has cystic fibrosis--and their discovery of the ghosts and their Latino heritage there.
LibraryThing member lissabeth21
We just love everything by Raina Telgemeier! This was a fantasy filled with surprises and love.
LibraryThing member asxz
Delightful graphic novel about sisters and sickness and spooks. If you're going to wrestle with mortality, it's nice to do it with such lovely images and in a work for all ages.

I love the fact that I read about this online, ordered it second-hand, had it delivered to London where it turned out to
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have been withdrawn from the New York Public Library and now I brought it back to live with me in Israel. Yay books!
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LibraryThing member jennybeast
I think the criticisms of this book are legit, but she certainly seems to be coming froma place of respect. Somehow it doesn't have the impact of Smile or Sisters, which is a bummer, but the pacing is great.
LibraryThing member fionaanne
Not a fan of ghost stuff but this was very twee, and the artwork is cute. The story gets progressively absurd over the course of the book, to the point where the resolution literally made me laugh. Weird lack of aboriginal ghosts though, given its set in Northern California.
LibraryThing member AmericanSpace
Catrina and her family have moved to the coast of Northern California for the sake of her litle sister, Maya, who has cystic fibrosis and Cat is even less happy about the move when she is told that her new town is inhabited by ghost, and Maya sets her heart on meeting one
LibraryThing member reader1009
yay, the new Telgemeier is out and at my local library! And it is packed with everyday diversity!

I really liked Drama (the only other Telgemeier I've read thus far) and I enjoyed these new characters (and their vulnerabilities) just as much. I think Maya is about 8 and the protagonist Cat would be
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about 11-12? I loved Cat's reaction to the flan, and many other moments in this book. I also would love to move to this foggy town on the California coast, provided that I could walk to work and not have to drive in the fog all the time.

Parental note: there are ghosts in here (in case you have something against that), but no kissing (except for air-kisses given for the ghosts' benefit), drugs, language, or anything like that. The kids do wander around town (and in abandoned buildings) unsupervised, and Maya (who is very sick with a degenerative disease) contemplates her own mortality.
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LibraryThing member LibroLindsay
That made me one weepy mess. I liked many elements of this, but the Día de los Muertos appropriation cannot be ignored.
LibraryThing member lycomayflower
A middle grade graphic novel about Cat and her family, who move towns for the health of her younger sister, who has cystic fibrosis. Their new town is haunted by the friendly ghosts of previous residents of the town. We follow Cat as she deals with her feelings about her sister and her illness,
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copes with the move, and considers how she feels about her family heritage, especially as her sister sets up an altar hoping their grandmother's ghost will come to visit. This was a great read, especially its treatment of and information about the Day of the Dead. Recommended.
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Awards

Great Stone Face Book Award (Nominee — 2018)
BCCB Blue Ribbon Book (Fiction — 2016)
Utah Beehive Book Award (Nominee — Graphic Novel — 2018)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2018)
Eisner Award (Nominee — 2017)

ISBN

0545540623 / 9780545540629
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