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Anya's Ghost Paperback – June 7, 2011
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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“Anya's Ghost is a masterpiece, of YA literature and of comics.” ―Neil Gaiman
“Remarkable. . . . with an attitude and aptitude reminiscent of Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) who likewise conveyed the particulars of an immigrant adolescence, Brosgol has created a smart, funny and compassionate portrait of someone who, for all her sulking and sneering, is the kind of daughter many parents would like to have. And the kind of girl many of us maybe once were.” ―The New York Times
About the Author
Vera Brosgol was born in Moscow, Russia, and emigrated with her family to the United States as a child. She has a degree in Classical Animation and currently works as a storyboard artist at Laika, Inc. Her work can be seen in the recently released Coraline.
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When Anya gets rescued, Emily ends up tagging along. Anya doesn’t much want a ghost in her life, but she is helpful in certain ways. She can help her with answers during tests. She can find out when her crush will be out of class. She gives her tips on being popular. Emily wants to be Anya’s friend forever. And that could be a problem, because Emily is keeping secrets, and she’s a lot more dangerous than she lets on…
I wasn't expecting a lot from this. It starts out the way we’ve seen a couple dozen other graphic novels — misunderstood geek girl, unhappy with her life, grows up, becomes more mature, learns to appreciate the friends and family she has and maybe makes some more friends, too.
This one? It follows the familiar path for a while, and then, slowly, it turns into fairly straightforward horror. The end goal is still the same — personal and emotional growth for the protagonist — but it’s interesting how much the tension and fright ramps up, and how serious and powerful the threat becomes. There’s no gore or anything like that, but it’s still a nice piece of low-key horror.
The characters are great, too. Anya and Emily are the obvious focal points, but Anya’s mother and brother are also very well-created. Everyone else is fun, too — there’s not a dull character in the bunch — snarky Siobhan, geeky Dima, skeezy Sean, beautiful but miserable Elizabeth, even the school principal at the end.
Vera Brosgol’s art is moderately cartoony, but cartooning helps make the characters and situations more universal, more appealing, and more emotional. And the art does a fantastic job of conveying the humor of the story, as well as the eerie shenanigans going on behind the scenes.
It's definitely one of those coming to age type book, growing up fro experience type of books but in a fictional and illustrated way. The illustrations are really cool and simple in my opinion and demonstrated the emotions and attitudes of the characters very well.
The Art: The artwork in this book is really beautiful in a quirky sort of way. It's very cartoonish but it works for the story. The visual element of the story fits in really well with the plot development and enhances the book rather than simply illustrating it. This becomes especially important as certain characters start to evolve toward the middle of the book. It simply would have been lacking without the visual element.
Actually Scary: At first I had my doubts about whether or not this would actually be a scary read. Sure, it's about a ghost, but the cartoonish art style and the beginning of the story line made me skeptical. Then the story started taking a dark turn and the book just got downright creepy. I think that was my favorite part of the book. It was so unexpected and such a pleasant surprise.
Great Message: The underlying message in this book is less about restless spirits and more about a girl who is uncomfortable with her place in the world. Anya has to see first hand how important her family and her life are to really appreciate her value and what she has.
Anya and Her Family: The characters of Anya and her mother and brother are very well-written. They are incredibly realistic and endearing and have obviously been created with love by the author. In the few hours it took to read the book I became very attached to these characters. I always love it when I can hear a character's voice and really get to know them.
Some of the secondary characters: Unfortunately I felt like some of the secondary characters weren't very well-developed. I realize that this is mainly a story about Anya and her family but I would have liked a little more depth in some of the other characters.
This was a great graphic novel to start out with. I loved it. It was heartwarming, funny and actually pretty spooky at times. It will definitely stick with me for a long time and I will absolutely be re-reading it. I would recommend this if you you're looking for a super fast, fun book or an intro to graphic novels.