ElCicco #CBR5 Review #38: Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

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This graphic novel is geared toward the young adult crowd and provides a nice mix of teen troubles and ghost story. At the beginning, it seemed kind of “Caspar the Friendly Ghost”-y, but then it turns dark and the real fun begins.

Anya is a high schooler and Russian emigre. She has endured bullying and learned to adapt and lose her accent to fit in. She skips church and cuts classes to smoke with her friend Siobhan. Anya rejects pretty much everything her family represents — foreign name, unusual religion, different body type. She longs to hang with the cool crowd, especially the handsome high school basketball star Sean, who dates the most perfect girl in the school.

One day, Anya takes a short cut through a remote area and falls down a well, where she is introduced to the ghost of a teen girl named Emily, who died 90 years ago in the same well. After being rescued, Emily is able to follow Anya thanks to a bone that winds up in Anya’s backpack. Emily is fascinated with Anya’s teen drama, having missed out on it herself, and Anya begins to see the advantages of having a ghost friend.

It sounds like an unorthodox buddy story until something happens that causes the story to take a dark turn. Anya has to start thinking and working for herself or her life and the lives of her friends and family will be at risk.

This was a fun and quick read. The dialog is sharp and often funny. Anya is a realistic teen (well, except for the ghost buddy part). It’s definitely geared toward the young teen crowd (not your dark, deep convoluted graphic novel) and follows a simple story line. The illustrations are done in blacks, greys, blues and white, which helps build a ghostly and sinister mood. The drawing reminded me a bit of the graphic novel Persepolis. All in all, a fine read for an afternoon and one to pass on to the kids.

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