Friday, April 24, 2020

MG Fantasy/Paranormal review of Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega

36601937. sy475 Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
Format:  Ebook
Publisher:  Scholastic 

Number of Pages: 288
Published:  April 7th, 2020
Source:  Library 

I saw this description awhile back for Ghost Squad, "Coco meets Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters." What an awesome combination right?  Lucky for me, my library agreed and approved my request to get a copy for the library.  

Opening line:  "Lightning struck, and a brilliant white light bloomed, illuminating the night sky outside of Lucely Luna's bedroom window."  

When Lucely was little, her mother abruptly left without a word.  Since then its been Lucely and her father, Simon.   Simon's a major history buff and runs a ghost tour company, but the business has been slow and the bank is close to foreclosing on their house.  Which is especially concerning to Lucely because if they have to move, she's worried about what will happen to the fireflies or spirits of her deceased family members who live in the Willow tree in their backyard.  You see, Lucely has a very special gift, she can see her family's spirits as ghosts of their human form, yet others only see them as fireflies.   If Lucely has to move, what will happen to her spirit family?  To her abuela, aunts, and uncles?   So Lucely sets out to help her father to raise the money for his loan.  But then strange things start to happen.  Lucely abuela's light appears to be flickering and she warns of a darkness approaching.  Hoping to fix her abuela Lucely casts a spell, but instead accidentally unleashes a curse.  Now malicious spirits are attacking St. Augustine and she must find a way to reverse the spell to save the town and to keep her families lights from flickering out for good.

Ghost Squad is a super adorable paranormal story filled with lovely pop culture references and homages to T.V. shows, and movies like Scooby-Doo, Ghostbusters, Goonies, even a moment that's reminiscent of the Dementor's Kiss in Harry Potter.  There's just so, so much to love here.  Like the emphasis on family and how Lucely's appear to her as ghosts of their former selves.  How she's fierce and determined to do anything to protect them.  She's not even deterred by visiting creepy cemeteries,  by fending off ghostly attacks, or even a Mayor with his glowing green eyes.  I loved the strong friendship she has with her best friend, Syd.  Syd was my absolute favorite character in the story, she's sassy, funny, an amateur ghosthunter, and most of all a loyal friend.  She made me laugh on more than one occasion and I especially love when she playfully tells Lucely, "It's every girl for herself in the ghost-pocalypse.  Sorry, not sorry!"  But even these girls recognize when they're over their heads and when it's time to consult Syd's grandmother, Babette, a powerful witch.  Babette is kinda like the granny in Hoodwinked with the feistiness of Miguel's Abuelita in Coco.  Aside from the fun characters, I also loved the Latinx representation and inclusion of passages written in Spanish as well as references to various Dominican foods that Lucely and her family prepare.  Overall, a very enjoyable read with humorous moments, and who couldn't love a story with a chubby cat named Chunk?   

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