Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan
Cindy: Well, we can’t be at New York Comic Con this weekend, but we can blog about a graphic novel to join the party from afar. Anya’s Ghost (First Second 2011) is perfectly executed and is perfect for the pre-Halloween season although it will be enjoyed year-round. Anya has self image problems and struggles to fit in. Part of it is her Russian heritage, which she tries to downplay but some of it is regular teen angst. If that isn’t bad enough, she falls in a well and is trapped overnight and meets a ghost that has been trapped there for over a century. She decides to be Anya’s new BFF but she complicates Anya’s life and her promise to be friends “forever” starts to feel like a curse not a benefit. I have to admit that I am not a huge graphic novel fan. I like some. I served on the 2007 Printz Committee that awarded the Printz medal to American Born Chinese, but it is not my prefered format for reading. And yet. I loved this book. It has some similarities in theme to Yang’s book, but it reminds me most of Smile from a few years ago…a graphic novel that is accessible to those of us who are not comic afficianados. Bravo. Dare I hope for a sequel? I’ve grown rather fond of Anya.
Lynn: I loved this book too but for somewhat different reasons. While I appreciate the angsty-girl-wanting-to-fit-in side of this, it was the whole evil ghost thing that I loved. I know teens will be drawn to Anya’s issues but give me a weird element every time! And Emily, the ghost, is one cunning weird character! All sweetness and light and best friends helping each other out, Emily is small and cute at first. As her true intentions are revealed, Brosgol draws her larger and looming and more threatening. The individual panels darken to almost black as Emily’s murderous nature is revealed. But Anya’s smartness saves the day. We learn how much Anya has grown in confidence when her friend tells her, “You may look normal like everyone else but you’re not. Not on the inside,” and Anya realizes how happy that makes her.
This book has a great cover too! Now – as nice as it is to blog about a graphic novel, I’d FAR rather be walking the hall at Comic-Con!
Cindy: And what would YOUR costume be? That question is aimed at Lynn AND our readers..so fess up. If I lose 20 more pounds, I will dress as Cat Woman at the first opportunity.