Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Review of Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Brosgol, Vera.  Anya's Ghost. First Second, 2011.

(Graphic Novel) When Anya, a disaffected high school student, falls down an old well, she meets Emily Reilly - a ghost who fell into the old well almost a hundred years ago and whose bones anchor her underground.

Luckily Anya doesn't suffer the same fate as Emily, but she is surprised to find that when she is rescued, Emily comes with her, thanks to a finger bone that stows away in her backpack.

Emily seems meek and pathetically eager to help - at first.  But as she becomes more and more controlling and attitudinal - in fact turning into the ultimate problem teen, even if she is transparent - Anya realizes that she's got a real problem on her hands.  She needs to find the bone that Emily has managed to hide - before Emily turns poltergeist, or worse.

The interesting aspects of this story have to do not so much with Evil Emily - whose story is rather pallid - as with Anya herself.  She's a Russian immigrant who came to America when she was 5, and she still remembers fellow Kindergartners making fun of her accent and funny clothes.  Her relationship with her single mom and her Russian heritage is ambivalent, and she desperately wants to fit in at school but somehow can't quite succeed even though she's shed her accent, smokes cigarettes, and dresses to blend in.  It's a more recent immigrant, fobby as all get out, who helps her see that impressing a bunch of idiot high school students is maybe not the world's best ambition - oh, and Emily Reilly's pychopathic tendencies put things in perspective as well.

Brosgol's art is solid and self-confident, with thick outlines and an altogether pleasant feel that complements this ghost story/high school alienation hybrid.  A quick, fun read for grades 7 and up.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts and opinions about the book. It sounds like a great read!!
    BTW, love your blog design.

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