Catrina, known as Cat, is trying hard to be mature about her family's move up the coast from southern to northern California. She knows it's mostly for her younger sister, Maya, who has cystic fibrosis. Her family hopes she'll be able to breathe more easily in the cold northern air of Bahia de la Luna. Maya is adventurous and eager to experience everything her new town has to offer, including the ghosts reputed to haunt the town, the traditional food and culture, and the new friends she plans to make. But Cat is more reluctant. Ghosts frighten her and she just wants to be normal. In her pursuit of normal, she makes some serious mistakes and learns she still has a lot of growing up to do.
There is so much packed into this book - Maya's struggle with CF, their mother trying to reclaim the Mexican heritage she rejected, Cat making decisions about how she will present herself to her new friends and town and how she defines her own identity. There's plenty of shivery and teary moments, some giggles, and a thoroughly satisfying ending that will have readers turning back to the beginning to experience the story all over again.
Telgemeier's art style is still recognizably hers, but with more dark colors and ghostly shimmers to show the setting of her newest story. Copious back matter is included that talks more about Dia de los Muertos, cystic fibrosis, and Telgemeier's inspiration for the story from her childhood and a cousin who died when she was thirteen.
Verdict: Another popular, award-winning, meaty graphic novel from Telgemeier; buy multiple copies.
ISBN: 9780545540612; Published September 2016 by Graphix/Scholastic; ARC provided by publisher at BEA; Preordered 2 copies for the library