Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Review: Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Thank goodness for a really good graphic novel to set me on track again!  I saw this one on the "New Releases" shelf at my local library and gladly snatched it up. 

Synopsis:  From Goodreads, "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:  As many graphic novels are prone to be, this was a really fast read, but with lots of interesting depth.  Anya's challenges in coming from an immigrant family are not lost on the reader.  Early on in the story we find Anya tossing out her mother's ethnic food, in favor of what she deems more "normal" and then heading off to school.  Along the way, she falls down a well and meets the ghost of a girl that died from falling down the same well. What seems like a sad little ghost of a previous sweet girl though, might not be all she's led Anya to believe.  

Obviously, Anya is saved from the well, but her little ghost friend is not left behind.  Rather than helping Anya to fit in better, this ghost has not been as forthright about her death as she should have been, leaving Anya with way more on her hands than just her cultural difference.  The story does turn spooky, giving Anya bigger things to worry about than her own ethnic background.  In true graphic novel fashion, this spooky story still has a light-heartedness about it that we know will somehow lead to a happy ending.

I really liked Anya's Ghost and found the story to be one that I fell into pretty quickly.  The pictures are well done and the dialogue propels the action forward.  Besides the action, we still understand the emotions felt by many of the characters.  Anya just wants to feel "normal" like most teens, but with a ghost hanging around, that leads to more abnormal than one might expect!  In the scope of storytelling, graphic novels, and the supernatural, this was a fun and spooky tale that pulled me out of my own little reading slump.  Thanks to the creativity of artists and authors combined, their vision came together in an engaging story that plays with the modern and old, with the dark and the light.  If you're looking for a fun ghost story that still gets marks for being creepy, then this is a nice one to try out.

*FTC Disclosure:  This review was based on a library copy of the book.


  1. I really enjoyed this graphic novel!

  2. Kailana--It was pretty fun, right?!? :) I showed it to my students today and they went nuts. First, they couldn't believe their English teacher would read a book like that, and second, they all wanted to check it out. Too funny!

  3. I read this comic not too long ago. I liked it. Apparently the author/artist lives in the same city that I do.

  4. Respective technology and entertaintment blog it is. I have been long looking for some nice blogs. Very enlightening article it is for read anyone.

  5. Ghost stories seriously creep me out. I'm, uh, not sure I want to read this one. >.>

  6. I first discovered this wonderful comic back in March, my friend had checked it out from our school library. I remembered seeing it the year before but I wasn't able to get it since I had already checked out three other books. So, I took it and flipped it open to a random page. Read some of it then I realized "Hey, this is pretty good!" Since I had skipped ahead, I went back and read it from the beginning then continued. By the time my friend caught me we were in lunch and I was already on page 70 something. She tried to violently take it off me but I was like "Hey, I'm reading that!" She told me I didn't ask. So, I asked and she said I could. So.. I kept it... and finished it by 8th or 9th period. It was utterly amazing. The ghost was so cute, her story is so tragic. I was soon addicted, I was reading it over and over... I just could't get enough. Not only that, Emily really got me thinking... how was she before she died? And all of that other crap. Also, wondering why she'd resort in doing /that/ because she caught her "crush" with another girl? He must've been leading her on.. or something.. there really needs to be another book. One, that goes back in time to the 1900's to dig into Emily Reilly's life, all the way up until she dies. (My friend and I actually made up all these theories about her too. We've concluded that she was one messed up chick.)

    Overall, Anya's Ghost is wonderful read and I recommend it to anyone who thinks they'd love a sinister ghost story. The story itself isn't scary, it's the ghost who's scary. With her personality changing so quickly the second she realizes Anya is trying to detach herself from her. (Trying not to say anything too spoiler-ish.) x'D I really think an English class could learn some valuable lessons from this comic. Especially an English class in High School.