Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
These worm-like shapes are how the ghosts start out, but as the characters get to know them, and interact with them more, the ghosts take on far more amazing and unique shapes!
Graphic Novels are quite popular in our house these days. Recently we’ve acquired the GN versions of “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle and “Hollow City” by Ransom Riggs, the second book in the “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” series. Both are excellent. Also, I’ve recently read and reviewed the GN version of “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman. It’s magnificent! And the superb graphic novel "El Deafo" by Cece Bell. (SEE BELOW FOR LINKS TO THESE REVIEWS.) In addition to these that we own, our daughter checks out four or five GNs from the library every week--everything from “The Smurfs” to “The Baby Sitter’s Club” plus many other incredibly written and beautifully drawn original books.

All in all, I have to simply say that Graphic Novels are hugely entertaining. You get great stories coupled with fabulous artwork, in a shorter more quickly consumable format, that can then be easily re-read as often as you like. Or you can just go back in the books and admire the artwork. Obviously, I love traditional novels and will always be an avid book reader. But I’m also happy to have my kids and I mix in an excellent selection of GNs for faster enjoyment.

And now, finally, I bring you Ghosts by Miss Raina Telgemeier. Such a powerful, clever, intriguing graphic novel--I truly enjoyed it. The story centers on a young girl named Cat and her little sister named Maya, who has cystic fibrosis. The two girls and their parents move to a town named Bahia de la Luna, in northern California, where the cooler more moist weather will help with Maya breathing and her overall health. Cat struggles to adjust and find herself in this new place while her sister absolutely adores their new surroundings. Maya loves the area because of the supernatural surroundings and the persistent rumors running through all the townsfolk...about ghosts.

So yes, there are some very heavy topics in this book but Miss Telgemeier handles everything very lightly and professionally so you understand about Maya’s condition and her difficulties but they are mainly in the background. Readers also feel the struggles Cat goes through as she tries to be a strong, supportive big sister--yet also be her own person. The art is bright and cartoonish, but still fabulously well done, which works perfectly to balance out the spooky ghostliness and the seriousness of Maya’s illness. Speaking of the ghosts, they are the best part. They are very cartoonish so you get a nice feeling of cool creepiness, which makes sure the book is not at all scary. Also, there is some fantastic Day of the Dead and Sugar Skull artwork towards the end of the story which my daughter and I both thoroughly liked. And throughout the novel, Miss Telgemeier also made excellent use of a few nearly breath-taking double page spreads to really wow us and draw us into her well-written story.

In conclusion, I absolutely highly recommend Ghostsfor boys or girls, ages 8 and up. It’s likely more geared towards girls, since the two main characters are female. But the spooky themes and neat ghosts will certainly appeal to boys. If you have a Halloween fan in your family, or need to buy a gift for some youngster out there who loves this holiday, this book is perfect. And parents, if you read this one with your kids, there are some wonderful talking points in there which will lead to discussions about things like family, bravery, and how to lovingly support someone who has a difficult medical condition. But again, these serious issues don’t knock you over the head during the story. They are just cleverly worked into the scenes all throughout this great graphic novel that’s mostly about sibling love, about adjusting to new surroundings, and of course...about GHOSTS!
My review of El Deafo by Cece Bell
My review of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman