How excited was I to see Vera Brosgol’s graphic novel Anya’s Ghost under my Christmas tree? Super excited! I had actually tried to buy the book at SDCC over the summer, but it was sold out by the second day. It was the first thing I read from my holiday horde and it did not dissapoint.
The story: Without revealing too much, the basic story follows the modern highschooler Anya Borzakovskaya who is a Russian immigrant (though she left when still a young child) trying to fit into American suburbia. After falling down a well, Anya meets and befriends the ghost of Emily Reilly, a girl who died after falling down the same well while trying to escape the man who killed her family.
The story is as beautiful, simple and spare as the art, with a series of surprising turns that take it far beyond a simple Casper-style buddy comedy.
Of course, Anya’s problems are the predictable problems of any highschool girl: weight, boys, grades, fitting in, so this may not be the book for your more macho friends. But Anya’s issues are addressed in sometimes surprising ways (especially in regards to teen heartthrob Sean and his perfect girlfriend Elizabeth), so anyone who hated highschool has a decent chance of liking this book.
Still Anya’s Ghost is best suited for the highschool reader. If you have a niece you’ve been trying to get into comics, this is a very approachable, very relatable read, a great place to start. Middleschoolers is a little bit of a gray area as there are some mature themes (implied sex, smoking, non-graphic murder), but I have no doubt the characters will resonate.
Read up, Wrongsiders!
*Originally posted on http://www.wrongsidecomics.com/ on 1-15-2012*