Buddy Review | Ghost Squad – Claribel A. Ortega

As you know, last month was middle grade May! Both of us were able to read quite a few middle grade books, including Ghost Squad. This book was also a group read in the TBR & Beyond group and if you go look, there’s a live chat to watch with Claribel A. Ortega. Today we want to talk about this book!

Buddy Review | Ghost Squad – Claribel A. Ortega


Coco meets Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters in this action-packed supernatural fantasy.For Lucely Luna, ghosts are more than just the family business.Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd's witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely's firefly spirits before it's too late.With the family dynamics of Coco and action-packed adventure of Ghostbusters, Claribel A. Ortega delivers both a thrillingly spooky and delightfully sweet debut novel.


Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
Published by Scholastic Press on 07/04/2020
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads

“It’s every girl for herself in the ghost-pocalypse. Sorry, not sorry!”

Cover

Candyce I love the cover of Ghost Squad! The illustrations are so cute and under the dust jacket, we get another surprise. Middle grade covers are almost always stunning!

Isabelle Super Cute cover! It fits the story really well and I like the style of the drawings. I think it’s great to have kids of color on the cover and hope that some kids will see themselves in this cover (and the book of course)

“”Lucely is pretty weird. It’s why we’re best friend,” said Syd, puffing her chest proudly.”

Review

Candyce Lucely’s family of firefly spirits are in danger and she wants to save them! Together with her best friend, Syd, they cast a spell. Unfortunately, this doesn’t go as planned and they wake up evil spirits instead. They team up together to save her fireflies, her Dad’s business and get rid of the evil spirits.

Ghost Squad is a fast and fun read with some spooky elements. I have to say this would be the perfect kind of read for around Halloween. As usual, this middle grade touches some sensitive subjects: grief, a parent leaving and finding a new normal after that. Also, I love that the author uses their Dominican heritage in the book. I love learning new things and having that in a fun story is a great way to learn!

I loved how fast her best friend Syd was there for her and was willing to do anything to help. They make a great team and I love that about middle grades. Friends are really important and Ghost Squad really shows us that. The setting is also so much fun! It’s almost Halloween and between the ghost tours Lucely’s father runs and the little boat they take to Syd’s grandmothers house, I definitely got some creepy vibes.

Also, besides the fun adventure and magic in this story, we have a cast of amazing side characters. Syd’s grandmother, Babette, is a grandmother I would’ve loved in my life. Everyone should have a grandparent that makes them jackets for their ghost squad! And I can’t forget Chunk (Syd’s grandmother’s cat). He was my favorite character. He may just be more than a cat, because he has amazing timing and I think he could use his own story.

This book is fast paced and while that’s a good thing, I think it also caused for a few parts of the story to feel a bit rushed. The story wraps up nicely, but I would’ve loved to have known more about Lucely’s firefly spirits, more time focusing on the relationship with her father and maybe even processing her mother leaving. We get glimpses of these subjects, but there’s not a lot of time spent here.

All in all, Ghost Squad was a heartwarming story that I really did enjoy and recommend. The author was really creative in the way they fight off the spirits and I don’t think I’ve ever seen in other stories. I know this is a standalone, but I wouldn’t mind more stories with these characters!

Isabelle It took me awhile to get into the story. There is quite some setup and especially for a MG story it took too long to get ‘excited’. The book has less than 300 pages so you would expect the action to start a bit sooner. If I’m honest, the first half was a bit boring. Luckily, the second half made up for that!

Once the action started I got more excited and started to enjoy myself! The plot was fun and I loved seeing folklore from a different culture. This is exactly why we need diverse books, this is how we get new and exciting stories we haven’t read a 100 times already. 

There was a big emphasis on friendship, one of the reasons I enjoy MG stories so much. Lucely and Sid have a wonderful friendship and they made me laugh out loud a couple of times. However, my favourite character has to be Babette, Sid’s grandmother. She is an amazing and very strong woman and she totally stole the show. 

Apart from a bit of a faster-paced start to the story, I also would’ve liked to see some more of Lucely’s family and especially her dad. There was definitely a lot of family involved in a very interesting way, but it would’ve been nice to go a bit more in-depth. I really wanted to see more from Lucely’s dad and maybe some backstory on some of her other family members. Hopefully in the future!

“”Maybe family is more than who you’re related to,” Lucely said. “It’s also people you find and love along the way.””

Ghost Squad was such a cute read! Also, Chunk, the cat, really deserves his own book. If you’ve read Ghost Squad, we’d love to know what you thought in the comments!

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