- Reading level: Young Adult
- Paperback:224 pages
- Publisher:First Second (June 7, 2011)
- Source: Library copy
Anya is a student at a private school. She’s not proud of her Russian heritage; her family moved to the United States when she was five and Anya’s worked quite hard to get rid of her accent. When introducing herself to others, she often Americanizes her last name, another attempt to escape her heritage. Her mother, on the other hand, wants her to embrace it; she arranged for Anya to attend this specific private school because a Russian boy of the same age was enrolled there.
One day, as Anya is walking through the park, Anya falls into a hole. She meets the ghost of a young girl who died in 1918. The girl, Emily, claims to have been murdered. She’s been hovering over her remains, unable to separate herself from the bones that remain. When Anya is rescued, Emily is able to “escape” due to one of her bones finding it’s way into Anya’s backpack.
At first, Emily is a welcome relief in a sort to Anya. She offers her the companionship she lacks, even assisting her in her school work, social life, and wardrobe. Soon, however, Emily becomes a bit obsessed with Emily’s life, living it as her own in a sense. When Anya get suspicious she does a bit of research into Emily’s past, discovering that she isn’t the person she stated she was. Anya must find a way to detach Emily from her life before things get out of hand.
Anya’s Ghost is more than just your average ghost story, it is also a coming of age tale, in a sense. Anya is a teen, insecure in her appearance and her identity. She has a curvy body and she’s desperate to fit in with the “in-crowd.” specifically one of the popular boys who seems to show an interest in her. Through Emily, and the experience she has with her, she learns to embrace her heritage, her identity, her being.
As this is a graphic novel, the illustrations are important. Brosgol does a tremendous job detailing the emotion, the “feel” of the book by using gray-scale, not just black and white, to illustrate the story.
All in all, Anya’s Ghost is a graphic novel that would appeal to fans of several genres, including mystery, horror, young adult, etc. How can you resist a book that Neil Gaiman refers to as “A Masterpiece?” Highly recommended.