anyas ghost

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

This debut graphic novel tells the story of Anya, a first generation American who has worked hard to fit in at school by losing her Russian accent and blending in with the other students.  But she can’t quite manage to be normal.  Falling down a well doesn’t help, and discovering a ghost in the bottom of the well isn’t a good start either.  But as she befriends the ghost, her life starts to become easier.  She gets help with tests, manages to connect with a cute boy she has been watching from afar, and gets clothing and makeup tips too.  Everything seems to be looking up, until Anya begins to figure out what is truly happening.

Told in black-white-and-gray illustrations, this graphic novel has a deep appeal.  Anya is a girl that readers will immediately relate to.  She has insecurities about her body, her school, and herself.  The strength of the novel comes in her character which rings very true and is written with a solid humanity.  The inclusion of the ghost lends a more fantasy tone to the book, offering an appealing foil to this very real protagonist.

The illustrations are clear and often very funny.  Emotions come through nicely and characters are depicted in ways that expand their character beyond the words on the page.  Anya is shown as a normal girl with curves, which makes her very relatable.  It doesn’t hurt that she is also sarcastic.

The storyline is strong, developing into a scary story that is hauntingly appealing.  Appropriate for ages 14-17.

Reviewed from library copy.

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