Rummanah Aasi
 Magical realism and the realities of high school collide in Vera Brosgol's delightfully, creepy Anya's Ghost. Like great graphic novels, Anya's Ghost will appeal to a wide range of readers by touching on the universal plight of wanting to fit in and our eagerness to shed our "otherness" skin.

Description: Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part... Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.
   Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs. Or so she thinks.

Review: Anya's Ghost is a not a revolutionary graphic novel, but its humor, the dabbling of the eery paranormal, and the great artwork is what grabs the reader's attention. Anya is a curvy, sarcastic, insecure, snarky, dark, and relatively sweet Russian girl who wishes to be everything that she’s not. She is the daughter of Russian immigrants who, unlike Anya, are comfortable with their strong cultural roots.
  Like any ordinary teen girl, Anya has a hopeless on a boy who is absolutely unobtainable, the school basketball captain, and is incredibly envious boarding on unreasonable hatred for his girlfriend, the perfect blonde Elizabeth. Things get worse to awful when she falls into a well one afternoon and discovers that she’s not alone. T
he very lonely ghost of a girl named Emily, who died in the well a hundred years before and can't leave her bones. With a mutual understanding and the insatiable desire to wanting to be seen and fit in the world, Anya and Emily struck an unusual friendship. Anya's the only one who can see Emily, of course, but Emily's excited enough to be out in the world again (via a tiny bone Anya carries around with her) that she offers to help her new pal out in all sorts of ghostly ways; Anya, in return, resolves to try to solve the mystery of Emily's murder.
   In addition to the mystery and horror aspect of the graphic novel, Anya's Ghost addresses what it feels like to be an outsider. Anya reflects on the times she was bullied as a child after immigrating to the U.S., which what encouraged her to turn away from her identity and heritage. We watch as Anya desperately trying to mold herself and adapt herself to assimilate to the kids at her high school, which needless to say don't really turn out that well. We are happy once Anya discovers the mysteries of her world as well as gain self confidence and takes pride in being who she is.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some smoking, a teen partying scene where drinking and sexual situations are alluded in the graphic novel. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like this book try:  Ghostopolis by Dough TenNapel, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Mercury by Hope Larson, American Born Chinese by Gene Yang
6 Responses
  1. This sounds like a great book. I haven't read non-manga graphic novels for awhile. I did enjoy American Born Chinese. You've read Persepolis right?

  2. I am not one for magical realism, but I did like this graphic novel. There was something to the quirkiness that appealed to me

  3. I've heard about this one and I'm curious. I really want to read this especially since it is set as a graphic novel. Now that I know you enjoyed it, I am putting it on my wishlist!

  4. This one sounds like a fun story. I think it would have been interesting to see things from Emily's POV too because with ghosts, they often see the world change whereas Emily has been stuck in a well for a century before being able to venture out.

  5. Oh, I could definitely see myself relating to Anya! She sounds like a treat. And I'm interesting in seeing the artwork because I'm loving that cover.

  6. This sounds like another great graphic novel. I actually prefer these to manga, but still sometimes get confused reading them. So much to explore in the reading world!


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