Book Review: Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Anya’s Ghost is nominated for YALSA’s 2012 Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Did you ever want a best friend? Not any old BFF, but a true confidante, a helper! Anya wants just that. She is desperately trying to shed her Russian heritage and fit in at school. Her crush doesn’t know she exists and her only friend is kind of a jerk. One day, when Anya has had just about enough, she falls down a hole and meets Emily. At first Anya wants nothing to do with a creepy ghost but her tune changes after realizing Emily will do anything for her in exchange for company.

However, Emily has an ulterior motive.

As the suspense kicks in, Anya’s Ghost becomes a page turner. Fans of Coraline might recognize Vera Brosgol’s style (she was a storyboard artist for the film). Anya and Emily’s unique friendship unravels as Anya discovers the truth about her little ghost. Anya steps up to the plate and discovers that insecurity about her heritage, her looks, and her social status have jeopardized her life. In the end, Anya is glad to be called “not normal.”

This is an excellent first graphic novel for Brosgol. She deploys smart comedic timing and snarky banter that carry the story. Anya’s Ghost is a realistic portrayal of adolescence and the struggle to establish your identity.

— Marie Penny, currently reading Yeah! by Gilbert Hernandez and Peter Bagge

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