books and reading

Book Review: Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

For lonely teenager Anya, a friend seems like a start to fixing her problems.  When she falls down a well and meets the ghost of a girl who lived long before, she thinks she may have actually found a friend–albeit a weird one.  But this new ghost seems intent on sticking around, and as she tries to control more and more of what Anya does, Anya begins to question her choices.

Vera Brosgol’s very creepy, fast-paced graphic novel is an absolute page-turner.  Readers will be quickly sucked into Anya’s world.  As Anya tries to escape the past–both her own Russian-immigrant background as well as her new ghost friend’s presence–readers will be breathless in anticipation of what will happen next.  Brosgol’s writing is sparse, smart, and frequently very funny.  Everything about this one works nearly perfectly.

Beautifully rendered, Brosgol’s simple, clean panels create a modern feel using mainly black and white (with a dash of purple thrown in, too).  Instead of trying to cram a great deal of action into each panel, Brosgol chooses instead to simply create more panels, making the entire story unfold in a way that is easy to follow.  The grayish tint to some of the drawing helps illustrate the moody feel that permeates much of the novel.  It’s eerie, and the drawings only help increase the uneasiness readers are supposed to feel about Anya’s new friend.

Tight storytelling makes this novel whip by.  It won’t be hard for most readers to finish this in a single sitting, and Anya’s relatable, often self-deprecating voice will be something that resonates with most people.  This graphic novel is definitely for the older teen set, but it’s unbelievably satisfying and very clever.

Highly, highly recommended.

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol. First Second: 2011.  Library copy.

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