Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Supernatural/Graphic Novel
Length: 256 pages
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
“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.”
This book has a lot of interesting and unique elements to it but I personally didn’t enjoy it that much; it was pretty depressing. Basically Cat and her family have to move to this small town because of her sister, Maya’s cystic fibrosis. Once they get there they find out that ghosts inhabit the town but that they are not as scary as Cat originally thought.
There is a lot of good stuff in this book. There’s information on cystic fibrosis and a lot of history and background on Mexican culture. The pictures are well drawn, easy to follow, and brightly colored.
The story is very straight-forward and will be easy for younger readers to follow. However, the subject matter is pretty heavy for younger readers. Basically the family moved to this town so Maya could live a little longer. Maya’s interaction with the ghosts are basically preparing her to be okay with dying at a young age.
While this would be a great book for families that are struggling with a similar situation it’s a bit heavy for your general young reader. My 10 year old son was not a fan; he thought it was boring and kind of sad. I think he actually missed the broader message but told me “not much happened and it’s sad her sister is dying.” So while he was super excited to read it he ended being pretty let down.
I kind of felt the same way. This is one of those books that I think adults will think is awesome for kids but that kids actually won’t like much. It’s a kids book for adults mainly. I didn’t enjoy it because it was so depressing and I am not a huge fan of books that leave me feeling sad and depressed.
I did enjoy the illustration and some of the scenes with the ghosts. I loved how the characters actually get to interact with some of their ancestors and how the story tries to spin death to be a not-so-bad thing.
Overall there are a lot of things done well in this book (it packs in discussion about cystic fibrosis, Mexican culture, life and death, and sacrifice for your family) but it’s a bit of a heavy read for its intended age group. It’s one of those tear-jerker types of reads that leave you feeling sad and depressed. I won’t really recommend for the middle grade crowd unless they are in a situation similar to the main character.