For our last book club of 2017, our YA group read the graphic novel Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier. There was no one who didn’t like the book, but it was very nice to hear that some people really loved it. Ghosts is a very sweet graphic novel about a teenage girl and her sick sister. Both are trying to deal with the idea of mortality in their own ways and the story is set in a dreary city in Los Angeles where actual ghosts roam around the day of the dead. It’s a heartwarming story, but one that definitely makes you think.
Here we’ll recommend some other graphic novels about young girls dealing with hardship in life. If you enjoyed Ghosts you might want to try these as well! All the way at the end we’ll leave some discussion questions at the end just in case you’re doing research for your own book club.
Joe Kelly & J.M. Ken Niimura
This one is a little less sweet and a little more violent, but still a young girl retreating into a fantasy life to escape reality.
I Kill Giants tells the story of Barbara Thorson, an acerbic fifth-grader so consumed with fantasy that she doesn’t just tell people that she kills giants with an ancient Norse Warhammer – she starts to believe it herself. The reasons for Barbara’s troubled behavior are revealed through the course of the book, as she learns to reconcile her fantasy life with the real world.
Faith Erin Hicks
Sticking with ghosts, Friends With Boys contains a young girl who gets followed around by an Elizabethian ghost that won’t leave her alone.
After years of homeschooling, Maggie is starting high school. It’s pretty terrifying.
Maggie’s big brothers are there to watch her back, but ever since Mom left it just hasn’t been the same.
Besides her brothers, Maggie’s never had any real friends before. Lucy and Alistair don’t have lots of friends either. But they eat lunch with her at school and bring her along on their small-town adventures.
Missing mothers…distant brothers…high school…new friends… It’s a lot to deal with. But there’s just one more thing.
MAGGIE IS HAUNTED.
Discussion Questions for Ghosts
- Why does Cat get so angry when everyone around her talks about ghosts?
- Who’s ghost would you like to see on Dias de los Muertos?
- Some reviewers thought that the use of The Day of the Dead hinged on cultural appropriation. What do you think about this?