Title: Anya’s Ghost
Author: Vera Brosgol
Genre: graphic novel; ya fiction; mystery; horror; paranormal
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part.
Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.
Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.
Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya’s Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol.
Review: 4 stars
One of my students told me to read this because I’d really like it. When I started reading it, I understood why. It’s dark, it’s sarcastic, and it’s full of horror-adjacent content. I didn’t think it was scary–scary, but the concepts within it (falling in a deep hole with no one around to save you or hear you scream, becoming haunted by a ghost, and then being chased by one) are all in there.
The student who told me to read it is a first generation immigrant from Russia. This book hit home for him, because Anya goes out of her way to get rid of her FOB status and become “American.” My kiddo recognized that in himself. The way Anya develops over the course of the book, from trying to be cool by smoking and thinking everything is lame, changes when she’s confronted with “everything she’s ever wanted.” She realizes that sometimes appearances are deceiving and not everything is as it seems.
What struck me the most is Anya’s crush, and how that storyline plays out. I was not expecting him to be a player and for his uber popular girlfriend to literally be standing outside the bedroom door while he hooks up with another girl. That was rough. But that’s really what turned everything around for Anya, a really cold bucket of water over her head.
I loved the way things got out of control. It was a slow spiral that ended up being almost fatal to her family. But that’s when she takes back the control and does what she needs to in order to protect herself, her family, and kind of everyone else at high school.
My student really liked it, but the one thing he really hated was that Anya smoked. “That’s gross.”