Anya's Ghost

( 17 )

Overview

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, ...

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Anya's Ghost

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Overview

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 graphic novel from author/artist Vera Brosgol.
 

Anya's Ghost is a 2011 Kirkus Best Teen Books of the Year title.
One of School Library Journal’s Best Fiction Books of 2011.

One of Horn Book’s Best Fiction Books of 2011.
Winner of the 2012 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Young Adults (Ages 12-17)

Winner of the 2012 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Young Adults (ages 12-17)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Anya Borzakovskaya is one frustrated, grouchy teenager. She's embarrassed by her Russian-émigré mom; her little brother drives her bats; she doesn't fit in at school; she can't get the boy she likes to notice her; and her only weapons are her sharp tongue and perpetual sneer. Then she falls down a well and makes a friend: the very lonely ghost of a girl named Emily, who died there a hundred years before and can't leave her bones. Anya's the only one who can see Emily, of course, but Emily's excited enough to be out in the world again (via a tiny bone Anya carries around with her) that she offers to help her new pal out in all sorts of poltergeisty ways; Anya, in return, resolves to try to solve the mystery of Emily's murder. Brosgol's debut graphic novel—taut, witty, and breezily paced—seems to be heading in a very familiar direction, and then, abruptly, veers off toward a completely different and much more clever third act. Brosgol's two-toned purple-and-black images have a bold, cartoony flair, underscoring her knack for comic timing and pacing, and making nearly every stance and facial expression her characters adopt at least a little bit funny. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Anya is a Russian girl who wants to fit in with her American classmates. She falls down a well and meets a ghost named Emily, who was murdered. They become friends and promise to help one another. Emily helps Anya get closer Sean, a boy she likes. In return, Anya promises to help solve Emily's 90-year-old murder. The story is rather dark and at times darkly humorous, especially when Anya fantasizes about Sean. It gets even darker when Anya realizes that Emily has been concealing a very dangerous truth about herself. Anya's character is not always sympathetic-she cheats on tests, she is often rude to her friends, and she refuses to help another Russian student because he's too "fobby" (Fresh Off the Boat). But her interactions with Emily and Sean change her and help her to evolve into a character whom readers can admire. The artwork is made up of clean, cartoony lines, reminiscent of that in Hope Larson's Mercury (S & S, 2010). The mix of mystery, horror, and the coming-of-age theme combined with the appealing graphic style will make Anya's Ghost an ideal choice for reluctant teen readers.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
From the Publisher

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

ALAN Review - Melanie Hundley
Anya is a typical teen girl who is embarrassed by her family, struggling with her body image, and attempting to fit in at school. When she falls down a well, she thinks that this actually isn't the worst thing that has happened to her. At the bottom of the well, Anya finds a dead body and a new best friend—a ghost named Emily. At first Anya and Emily are close, but Anya realizes that some parts of the story Emily told about her death don't add up. As Anya struggles to sort out fact from fiction, she must also figure out life in high school. Emily begins to play dangerous pranks and Anya must clean up the mess. Brosgol's debut graphic novel provides a quirky, sardonic, and whimsical view into adolescence and the struggle to both fit in and be different from everyone else. Anya is sarcastic, caring, and thoughtful. Reviewer: Melanie Hundley
Children's Literature - Kathie M. Josephs
Anyone who has ever attended school understands the importance of having a friend. Anya not only has no friend, but she is embarrassed by her parents who came from Russia. She tries so hard to fit in that she even loses her accent and tries to eat and dress like Americans. One day, Anya accidentally falls down a well where she meets a skeleton and the ghost of a girl called Emily. Emily befriends her and is able to "hitch" a ride when Anya is rescued. Emily becomes a fast friend and even helps Anya on her tests, gives her advice on how to dress, and even suggestions on how to get attention from a boy she likes. Anya has decided that having a ghost for a friend is better than having no friend at all and shares information that later on she wishes she had not. Unfortunately, Emily is not what she portrayed herself to be and Anya now has a new problem. She immediately needs to figure out a way to protect her family from Emily's dark side. This book grabs the reader's attention from the beginning. It has mystery, intrigue, and moves quickly and smoothly through the storyline. What is a bit fascinating is the decision to do the graphics in black with absolutely no color, but I must say it works. It is definitely a girl's book. If I were to give points from 1 to 5 with 5 being the best, I would give it a 5. This is really a great story and is thought provoking. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
Library Journal
Anya Borzakovskaya has a mouthful of a name and a head full of angst. While her single mom, a Russian immigrant, studies for citizenship and cooks greasy syrniki pancakes, Anya obsesses about her weight and tries to fit in at her not-so-ritzy private school. Then she falls down a well, where she meets a ghost who wants to be her BFF. The transparent, dead Emily helps Anya cheat on tests, coaches her on looking hot, and encourages her crush on dudely dreamboat Sean. But what starts off as a hunky-dory supernatural buddy story takes a clever twist when Anya discovers Emily's darker side and Sean's seamier side—and manages to see through both of them. VERDICT This is a YA magical realist tale with adult appeal, featuring imperfect characters who can still use their smarts and decide to take the right course. And while it's all about empowerment, the story is also wonderfully creepy and entertaining. The Moscow-born Brosgol effectively uses two-toned art with halftones, far better than the many indie artists who overuse gray scale and textures. A YALSA Great Graphic Novel for Teens nominee.—M.C.
Library Journal
The teen years are rough, and Anya's feeling it. Her changing body makes her self-conscious, her family embarrasses her, and she's given up on trying to fit in at school. Oh, and her new BFF is a ghost. But maybe that last is just fine. First Second bills this as "spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere."

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Anya is a Russian girl who wants to fit in with her American classmates. She falls down a well and meets a ghost named Emily, who was murdered. They become friends and promise to help one another. Emily helps Anya get closer Sean, a boy she likes. In return, Anya promises to help solve Emily's 90-year-old murder. The story is rather dark and at times darkly humorous, especially when Anya fantasizes about Sean. It gets even darker when Anya realizes that Emily has been concealing a very dangerous truth about herself. Anya's character is not always sympathetic-she cheats on tests, she is often rude to her friends, and she refuses to help another Russian student because he's too "fobby" (Fresh Off the Boat). But her interactions with Emily and Sean change her and help her to evolve into a character whom readers can admire. The artwork is made up of clean, cartoony lines, reminiscent of that in Hope Larson's Mercury (S & S, 2010). The mix of mystery, horror, and the coming-of-age theme combined with the appealing graphic style will make Anya's Ghost an ideal choice for reluctant teen readers.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews

A deliciously creepy page-turning gem from first-time writer and illustrator Brosgol finds brooding teenager Anya trying to escape the past—both her own and the ghost haunting her.

Anya feels out of place at her preppy private school; embarrassed by her Russian heritage, she has worked hard to lose her accent and to look more like everyone else. After a particularly frustrating morning at the bus stop, Anya storms off, only to accidentally fall down a well. Down in the dark hole, she meets Emily, a ghost who claims to be a murder victim trapped down in the dank abyss for 90 years. With Emily's help, Anya manages to escape, though once free, she learns that Emily has traveled out with her. At first, Emily seems like the perfect friend; however, once her motives become clear, Anya learns that "perfect" may only be an illusion. A moodily atmospheric spectrum of grays washes over the clean, tidy panels, setting a distinct stage before the first words appear. Brosgol's tight storytelling invokes the chilling feeling of Neil Gaiman's Coraline (2002), though for a decidedly older set. In addition to the supernatural elements, Brosgol interweaves some savvy insights about the illusion of perfection and outward appearance.

A book sure to haunt its reader long after the last past is turned—exquisitely eerie. (Graphic supernatural fiction. 12 & up)

The New York Times
Drawing in a deep violet palette, Brosgol brilliantly recreates the torments of teenage girlhood, and is especially adept at capturing its spectrum of angst…It all feels incredibly real, even as a ghost story. With an attitude and aptitude reminiscent of Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis)…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.
—Pamela Paul
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596435520
  • Publisher: First Second
  • Publication date: 6/7/2011
  • Pages: 221
  • Sales rank: 321,751
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Vera Brosgol

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Awesome

    Awesome book-- and this is coming from a pesky manga loving teenager. Basically the plot of the book is about this Russian girl, Anya, and she meets a ghost who claims her and her parents were murdered. The book moves along very quickly, so I won't mention anything more in fear that I'll give it away... I'd say the age range is... 11-16. Check it out :p you know you wanna.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2012

    Good story

    I enjoyed this book. It is probably meant to be a YA title, but I enjoyed it as an adult too. This starts off with an ordinary girl, originally, from Russia, going to high school. She falls into a well and cannot get out. Inside the well is a skeleton and a ghost girl. Ghost girl helps Anya in many ways even after she gets out of the well. But is this ghost who she claims to be? Of course not... This is when things get interesting.

    I would love to read a sequel to this book. The artwork is a clear and enjoyable style. I recommend this book to young adults. Be aware, though, she smokes and cuts class. Not a good role model.

    She is just an ordinary girl trying to fit in, and find her true self. It all works out in the end. And, she realizes that she does not need to smoke to be cool. She also finds some self respect, and decides that she does not pursue her crush when she finds out that he is a womanizer who mistreats his girlfriend.

    Highly recommended!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2011

    Highly recommended

    My daughter loves this book,but the only thing is I hope they put it in the nookbook soon and more like this !!!!!!!

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2012

    Fantastic!!

    This is a great story with a twist!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2012

    Good book

    Its really good,highly recommend this for teens

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2013

    Decent graphic novel, if a little preachy. Anya is a bit of a b.

    Decent graphic novel, if a little preachy. Anya is a bit of a b. and I don't get why she's so angry all the time. Because she's fat? Come on. 




    Nice twist at the end, but the ghost is the best part of the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    Charming with a splash of spooky

    Every young adult should read this phenomenally clever, yet sincere coming of age tale.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2013

    Enjoyed it

    Not exactly original, but very well done. Nice art work too.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2013

    Very well done

    Nice art, good story, great characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    Careful of age groups

    It was a very good book. But i would read it before younger kids do. There is smoking killing and some inapopprate pictures in this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    One of my favorites

    I love the art style, the storyline moves along really fast but i read books in a couple of days so it dosent bother me. I wouldnt reccomend this for anyone under 13 or over 20 unless the adult is still stuck in the mental teenage years or the kid is mature, overall, its one of my favorites and up there with hunger games

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2013

    Really good

    The graphicnovel was innovative as well as artistically fantastic

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Shadow rox

    I read this book as a school project for BOTB. (Battle of the books for talented and gifted groups) and thought is was an excelent read. I thought i might read it again and ended up doing so multiple times. Though i do think that due to some langauge this book is not for children of a young age or for those who find skeletons and or the paranormal frightning. This book takes the point of view of a teenage russian girl who had moved to america. She has a somewhat normal teenage life but with some very bad twists. Including the fact that she smokes, cuts classes, and hangs out with a friend that may or may not be trustworthy. Her life changed completly after an accidental fall into an abandoned well that hold secrets that should have remaind secrets forever.

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  • Posted December 29, 2012

    Simple Story

    Great artwork...simpleyet perfect for the purpose of story. I enjoy graphic novels in general but this is my first YA graphic novel. Very well done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2012

    Michael

    Its a story long since it was sad story. I am feeling so sad and I was read my book. This is awesome.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2013

    Bad

    Reads like a bad made for school movie. Looks good but is just bad

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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