Friends, it’s Halloween! And do you know what I love? Ghost stories! Ghost stories and graphic novels and books that Neil Gaiman call masterpieces! And LOOK! That is exactly what I have for you today.
Anya is a teenager in a private school in the U.S. She immigrated from Russia with her mother and little brother when she was five, and she still struggles with feeling like an outsider. It’s not easy, trying to fit in, make friends, and please her family at the same time….but it’s way less easy to do all of this when you’re being haunted by a murderous ghost.
When Anya stumbles onto a skeleton (and the ghost attached to it), she is at first excited about the opportunities a ghostly friend affords: cheating on tests! A lookout for when she wants to smoke without getting caught! A friend! She doesn’t even want to help solve her ghost’s murder, because that would free her. But when her spirit friend turns out to be far more malicious than she appeared, Anya has to figure out how to get rid of her-and fast.
Violet and gray illustrations maintain the slightly creepy tone of the story, and dialogue just this side of sparse gives readers space to consider the heavier issues of assimilation, family, and high school trauma. There are plenty of humorous moments to offset the vengeful ghost and gym class drills, like a panel illustrating Anya’s Google keyword search: “how to get rid of ghosts”. Come on, that’s hilarious!
Author’s website: http://verabee.com (Did you know she worked on the movie Paranorman?!)
Brosgol, Vera. Anya’s Ghost. First Second: New York, 2011. 244 pp. Ages 15 and up.
If you liked this book because of the ghost and creepiness, you might want to try Ghostopolis–look! Ghost wranglers! If you liked the immigration and cultural aspects, I have to give you the Best Graphic Novel ever: Persepolis. It’s long, but it’s awesome and you will completely love it.