Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
The premise of ghosts is a family that moves to a new city due to the younger sister (Maya) having cystic fibrosis (CF). Catrina, the older sister, is very unhappy because it is disrupting her life, plus the town they’re moving to apparently has a lot of ghosts and she doesn’t like this.
Maya is a bundle of joy that is trying to live her life to the max and then has issues due to CF. Catrina is being a difficult teenager, afraid of ghosts, tired of having to share everything with her sister and that her life revolves around Maya.
The idea of the story is about confronting the fact that Maya may die soon and the old traidtions of their family. It also tries to bring Day of the Dead into it, and this caused some odd feelings about it.
Catirna is terrified and also not really wanting to make friends or anything, so the story works on her being gloomy and it being spooky. At the same time we have super hapy Maya, things randomly happening to her and the neighbours and suddenly everyone is Mexican or has Mexican ancestry and wow, look, Day of the Dead exists. Everythign just kinda happens, everyone accepts the traditions and everyone participates in them.
The artwork for the celebration scenes was great but they still had some weirdness happen through it and the best way I can describe it, is that it didn’t feel genuine. It reads and looks like the author had friends who celebrate Day of the Dead, or liked the idea of it and applied to her idea of trying to accept the potential death of a family member. So I really liked the approach of how to deal with death but I am not sure trying to make it about Day of the Dead was the right choice, maybe it won’t matter that much for those that don’t have it is as their tradition or aren’t confused by it but to me, it took some of the joy of reading it, and a lot of the wonder of the intention of the story from it.
So I can’t really recommend this for the Day of the Dead value, but for the family and friendship value it does great things.