Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.
Oh, where to even begin with this. Many may have heard of it. Telgemeier is a darling, and she's not without a huge amount of talent. The illustration was fantabulous, and it's well-paced, exciting.
The problem is, as far as diversity goes--and this graphic novel tries to cash in on several tiers of such--it's a big misfire. It's clear that Telgemeier has only a basic understanding of Dia de los Muertes, and apparently thinks it's just an ethnic version of Halloween.
The second problem is the use of a Northern Californian Spanish mission, where the happy ghosts like to congregate and play. The fact that they were essentially set up for the genocide of native peoples isn't addressed. At all. Should it be, in a kid's book? Well, yeah! If the author's insistent on using it, sure, accuracy is extremely important, especially for groups that have been so marginalized in popular fiction, such as Native Americans and Native Mexicans.
Third, the cystic fibrosis. Please, please, please, authors who are able bodied: stop writing about able bodied siblings/family members/friends who have to "deal" with another's disability.My sister is deaf, and has pulmonary fibrosis, and never, for a day in my life, was I resentful of the attention she received, or pissed off or inconvenienced by her suffering. Nor was she ever stupid enough to push the limits of her illness (and the book uses it, on more than one occasions, to comic effect. Sighs.) That's the reality of a sick kid, is one who learns their limitations, whose lives change and settle around these new routines.
Also... WHAT WAS THE POINT OF MOVING TO A TOWN WITH SEA AIR IF IT WAS THEN SO COLD IT KEPT GIVING MAYA ATTACKS?! This makes so little sense, the characters themselves address it! I mean...!
Sick people, disabled people, especially kids, do not exist to make you feel better about your life, or about death. They're not a plot device, they're people. It's about time fiction begins to reflect this.
Anyway, all this has been said, by more knowledgeable people than I, and here are some links to their reviews: