First Second, 2011
When Anya falls down an old well in the park she meets an unlikely friend, Emily, a girl who died 90 years ago. She realizes that having a ghost around can be helpful for dealing with her embarrassing family, people at school, with especially her basketball star crush. However, things start to take a spooky turn though as things start to get out of hand with Anya’s ghost.
Review: Done in gray scale drawings, Anya’s Ghost is beautiful. It was a quick and entertaining, albeit spooky at times, read. I liked that Ayna had some serious character development in such a short period of time. At the beginning of the novel, she doesn’t like how she looks, or that her family is from Russia. She is embarrassed of her culture. Over the course of the book she becomes more accepting of what makes her different and realizes that everyone has problems. Even with the character development she still retains the core of herself, with is spunky and stubborn. Two characteristics I love in my protagonists.
I also really enjoyed the creepy aspect of the novel. The lack of colors really helped create the mood and escalated the creepiness. I’m pretty glad I didn’t finish this book right before bed or I might not have been able to sleep. The illustrations remind me a lot of Persepolis. Although, I think Anya’s Ghost is meant for a younger audience. Even though it’s meant for a younger audience, Anya and her friend smoke and skip class. At one point Anya goes to a party where there are high school students drinking. While I think this adds to Anya’s disenchantment and desire to fit in, it could be off putting to some people.
If you liked Anya’s Ghost, you should try American Born Chinese Gene Luen Yang. Check out a review of it over on The Book Hunter here.