Anya's Ghost.jpgTitle: Anya’s Ghost
Author/Illustrator: Vera Brosgol
ISBN: 9781596435520
Pages: 221 pages
Publisher/Date: First Second, an imprint of Roaring Books Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishings Holdings Limited Partnership, c2011.

“No Siobhan. Sitting in a cold dirty hole was not awesome. It was gross and smelly and there was a – Oh CRAP.”
“What?”
“There was this skeleton down there and I kiiinda forgot to tell anyone about it…”
“Oh my God!!! That’s so freakin’ scary! I bet that thing was totally haunted.” (46)

Anya Borzakovskaya falls down a hole and is stuck there overnight with the ghost of dead girl Emily Reilly, who fell down the same hole almost ninety years ago. When Anya is rescued, a finger bone finds its way into Anya’s bag and Emily rides piggy back into the land of the living. At first Anya reaps the benefits of Emily’s invisible presence, getting help with homework and with getting noticed by her crush. But soon Emily is demanding more from Anya, hoping to live vicariously through Anya’s actions. Anya’s only recourse is to return the bone to its rightful resting place, which becomes more difficult as Emily grows in strength and the bone goes missing.

Emily’s expressive saucer eyes and body language more than make up for the outlined portrayal of her ghostly presence, in turn portraying innocence in the beginning followed by angry irritation when Anya turns on her. Anya also goes through an evolution as she struggles to portray herself as an American while dealing with a very Russian single mother who is studying for her naturalization test. She lies about her name, which is understandable considering the mouthful of syllables that it contains, rejects her mother’s ethnic cuisine, and distances herself from the one other Russian student because he is ridiculed at school. Vera Brosgol’s artwork is impressive, containing a multitude of shades in just two colors that add dimension and details to the story and prove so varied that you don’t realize that there are only two colors being used. It also lends an old-time movie ambiance to the story and transitions well between scary night scenes and more upbeat daytime dramas. A great spooky story for graphic novel fans.

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