Book Review: Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

I accepted Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol on the basis of the Neil Gaiman blurb. Honestly, I didn’t realize this was a graphic novel, but HOLY CRAP I was so excited when I opened the package up and saw the pages upon pages of comics!

Anya's Ghost Book Cover Vera Brogsol

Anya's Ghost

Anya is a Russian immigrant attending American private high school. She’s not excited about being an immigrant or proud of her heritage, she just wants to fit in and be normal. Basically blond and thin. However, Anya reminded me a bit of Daria, in that she was exceedingly negative and had one good friend, Siobhan might as well be Anya’s Jane Lane. In the span of one day, her life completely changes when she trips into a hole and ends up trapped in a well.  In the well she makes friends with this ghost, thus the title Anya’s Ghost.

 

I read this book at 11 at night while waiting for my boyfriend to get home. Guys, I go to bed at elderly lady times, as in I rarely stay up past 10:30 p.m., unless there’s a readathon going on. Anya’s Ghost kept me riveted the entire time.  Let me tell you, at 1 a.m. I am not ever in the mood to read a book and there are few things I would rather do more than sleep, that is how awesome Anya’s Ghost is.

The art in Anya’s Ghost is lovely. There are no jarring lines. Instead, the art is all nice and clean. The entire graphic novel is done in black and white. It’s very easy on the eyes. The font was not hard to read at all. I do notice in a lot of graphic novels, they do these little sideboxes and the font is so hard to read, like you have to hold it up close, or I do anyways. I thought the art was perfect for the sort of comic Anya’s Ghost is.

Anya's Ghost, Emily, Emily flying through the clearing, field

My favorite image from Anya's Ghost

At it’s heart, I interpreted the main theme of Anya’s Ghost as identity. Anya must make a choice between tradition and assimilation. We see this in what she chooses to eat for breakfast, in her choice to go to church or not, in her choice of friends. She can choose to fit in, or help Dima who is another Russian, but Anya describes him as being FOBBY which means Fresh Off The Boat and I guess is a derogatory way of looking at immigrants. But I think in the larger context teenagers can relate to Anya’s internal conflict. I mean, how many teens make the chose every day to fit in or to go against the grain.

As a character, Anya really resonated with me. Now, my family is as WASP-ish as you can get, minus the whole rich thing. I felt she was so realistic with her faults but also her positives. She’s got poor body image, a crush on the wrong sort of person, desperately wants to fit in, but spends her time making negative comments about everything. Pretty much that was me during my adolescent years. Yet, when she gets into a fight with her best friend Siobhan, instead of being angry forever they resolve it. I liked that.

Anya's GHost, blonde girl behind Anya waves at Sean,

Shut down!

I’m deliberately leaving bits out about Emily because I think she is best discovered for yourself.

I think Vera Brogsol’s debut would be an excellent addition to anyone’s YA section. It would also be a good book for people interested in trying graphic novels for the first time. I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure: Received for review.

Other Reviews:

Things Mean A Lot

The Book Rat

Purchase Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol here. *FYI I receive a small commission if you buy things from Amazon after clicking link. Proceeds used for upkeep of site

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is 27 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. The illustrations look wonderful. I’m glad you showed pictures of the pages. I don’t remember reading a graphic novel, so this may be a great book for me to read as a beginner or perhaps even for my teens. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Lena recently posted..Listen to the Free Audio Version of Go the F**K to SleepMy Profile

  2. I’m not really a graphic novel fan, but I indulge in it every now and then. This looks pretty, and the illustrations remind me of old cartoons I used to watch. Looks very interesting!

    Oh, and this reminds me of another book I loved last year — Happyface by Stephen Emond. Have you read it? :)
    Tina recently posted..Waiting on Wednesday: How to Save a Life by Sara ZarrMy Profile

  3. Huh. Hadn’t heard of this one (maybe I need to read Neil’s blog). Sounds really cool though! Thanks for the review.
    Happy Reading!
    Mary @ Book Swarm
    Mary @ Book Swarm recently posted..Thursday Quickie: HEXED by Kevin HearneMy Profile

  4. This looks like something my kids and I would both enjoy. Plus I’ll buy anything with Neil Gaiman’s name on it ;)
    Christie recently posted..Review: Flying Blind by Deborah CookeMy Profile

  5. I’m not really into graphic novels. I often find so many illustrations distracting, but I am really interested in this one. I love when a book keeps you up late at night. I love that she’s not a perfect person who always makes good decisions. That really draws me to a book. Great review.
    Jenn recently posted..Review and Guest Post: Breaking EvenMy Profile

  6. This sounds like something I would really like as i like a graphic novel every once in a while. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!:)

  7. I just got my pre-ordered copy of this today and nearly read the whole thing in one sitting a soon as I opened the package. Alas, I have things to do, so I didn’t actually do that. Enjoy your new books!
    Liz recently posted..Character Interview: Abby of Want to Go Private?My Profile

  8. Denise Z says:

    I am not really a fan of graphic novels, primarily because I read my Kindle more than anything. However, I have read some and love the pictures in them that make the story come alive. Thank you for sharing today – this sounds like a good read.

  9. I LOVED this. Every last minute of it. Part of me wants to push my copy on everyone, and part of me doesn’t want to let it out of my sight. lol
    Misty @ The Book Rat recently posted..Quickie: A Good Vintage WhineMy Profile

  10. I saw this one on Misty’s blog earlier and I think the two of you have sold me! I have been interested in reading more graphic novels and this one definitely looks like a lot of fun!!
    Ashley recently posted..Review: Sharks and Boys by Kristin TracyMy Profile

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