Book Review: “Ghosts” by Raina Telgemeier


Catrina and her family have just moved to a new city, Bahía de la Luna, in the hopes that seaside air will help with her younger sister Maya’s cystic fibrosis. Catrina is prepared (sort of) for leaving all her friends behind and starting over at a new school, but she isn’t prepared for everyone in Bahía de la Luna to believe in ghosts…or for those ghosts to be real.

I think it pretty much goes without saying that the latest offering from Eisner Award-winning author Raina Telgemeier is good. If you’ve read any of Telgemeier’s previous works, rest assured that Ghosts has got all the heart you’ve come to expect. You don’t even need to read this review – go get the book! For those of you who need more convincing, I’ll continue to sing the book’s praises.

Unsurprisingly, the central relationship in Ghosts is between sisters Catrina and Maya. Telgemeier expertly conjures all the necessary ingredients in a older-younger sister dynamic: adoration, annoyance, protectiveness, embarrassment, camaraderie, and most importantly, love. The ups and downs in Catrina and Maya’s relationship are heightened because of Maya’s terminal illness. For Catrina, the prospect of local ghosts is spooky, and she worries about the effect getting worked up over them could have on Maya’s delicate health. For Maya, the ghosts are an exciting adventure – and potentially a glimpse into her own future.

Ghosts manages to be both a whimsical supernatural adventure and a thought-provoking meditation on life, the way we live it, and the inevitability of its end. If those seem like heavy topics for a middle-grade graphic novel, trust me when I say the entire book is a joy to read. In Telgemeier’s capable hands, these serious topics only add more poignancy to a story beautifully told.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.