Thursday, March 5, 2015

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

"You may look normal like everyone else, but you're not.  Not on the inside."

Anya is a young immigrant from Russia living in the United States with her family.  She doesn’t seem to fit into anywhere at her private school, is constantly worrying about her appearances, and is in love with a popular boy that barely knows she exists.  While walking to school, Anya falls down a well and meets Emily, a ghost from World War I that fell down the well after her parents were murdered.  Anya is eventually rescued, but several days later Emily appears at her house and starts following her around.  At first, Anya loves having the extra help at school from Emily and finally has a friend she can talk to, but Emily begins to become very controlling and threatens Anya’s family.  Anya learns that Emily killed a couple because she was jealous and finds away to send Emily to the afterlife where she belongs.

I enjoyed reading this book.  Even though it was brief, the author was able to create a fascinating story that incorporated many different thematic elements about identity and friendship.  I thought that the graphic novel format was a very efficient way to tell the story and effectively showed elements that a traditional novel would not have been able to capture.  I really enjoyed the character of Anya and thought she was very easy to relate to.  I loved the she used the experiences of meeting Emily to change her need to conform and be popular.  I would recommend this book to young adults, especially those struggling with personal identity.

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