by Raina Telgemeier
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
I love me some Raina Telgemeier, though there have been some pretty scathing reviews about the cultural appropriation in this one. If Telgemeier had gone in a slightly different direction and left out that part, this would be a tidy 5-out-of-5-stars book.
Telgemeier has a knack for the sisterly relationship, tender and frustrating at turns, and this one was no exception. Catrina and her family have just moved from sunny southern California up to foggy, damp Bahia de la Luna (based on Telgemeier’s recollection of Half-Moon Bay). The cooler weather is supposed to help Cat’s little sister Maya, who has cystic fibrosis. It seems that being in a town with more of a Hispanic presence helps Cat’s mother get in touch with her Hispanic heritage. When they first move there, Cat and Maya go out exploring and meet Carlos, who turns out to be their neighbor. He tells them about the ghosts that live there and come out mostly on El Dia de los Muertos. Shortly before the holiday, Cat lets Carlos take them to see the ghosts who live at the mission, but Maya gets too excited (or the ghosts take her breath) and she gets very, very sick. By the time Halloween and Day of the Dead come around, she is better, but still can’t go out trick-or-treating, and Cat refuses to speak to Carlos. But all ends well (and even with a little romance). The drawings are definitely indispensable and graphic novel is the only appropriate medium for this story, to actually show the ghosts.