Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.25903764

I received some advanced reading copies from Scholastic and immediately picked Ghosts first. I’d likely read anything by Telgemeier! While Ghosts was not my personal favourite of her works, fans won’t be disappointed. In this graphic novel, Cat’s family move to the Northern Coast in hopes that it will make life easier for Maya who suffers from cystic fibrosis. Like any teenager, she’s having a tough time with the move, and settling into a town seemingly obsessed with the afterlife, but her love for her sister shines through and takes priority. I loved their relationship, especially the heartfelt moments discussing Maya’s chronic illness. At one point, Maya asks “What happens when I die, Cat? Will you be afraid of my ghost, too? (pg. 175)”

Besides the inclusion of chronic illness, I really liked that the book introduced aspects of another culture. Readers will learn more about Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead) and the colourful illustrations are a bonus! Look for Ghosts in September 2016.

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

The companion to Raina Telgemeier’s #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling and Eisner Award-winning graphic memoir, SMILE.

Raina can’t wait to be a big sister. But once Amara is born, things aren’t quite how she expected them to be. Amara is cute, but she’s also a cranky, grouchy baby, and mostly prefers to play by herself. Their relationship doesn’t improve much over the years, but when a baby brother enters the picture and later, something doesn’t seem right between their parents, they realize they must figure out how to get along. They are sisters, after all.

Sisters-Raina-Telgemeier1

Although my advanced reading copy was not fully in colour, I expect the final version will be bright and visually appealing.  This graphic memoir features a range of spreads, including my favourite full page illustration of ‘the anatomy of a road trip’ (p.28).

Through a family road trip to Colorado, readers learn about complex sibling relationships. Like Raina, I have a younger sister and brother so I could totally relate to her frustrations!   I liked the addition of actual photos from Raina’s childhood with her sister, Amara. Lovely touch!

Best suited for kids ages 8-12 years, but really, anyone would enjoy this quick humorous read.  It does touch on more serious issues like parental struggles (marriage/money), and the common teen anxiety of fitting in socially.  Sisters has already received starred reviews, and I’m sure fans of her previous work, Smile and Drama will be equally impressed. Look for Sisters, August 26, 2014.

 

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