Guest Review #5 – Anya’s Ghost
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  • December 27, 2011
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Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol –

Due to the delicate nature of international relations with the People’s Republic of China, Bibliopunkk remains “on sabbatical.” Filling in for her is the world’s cutest freelancer, Greg Baldino

Anya has worked so damn hard to fit in at her high school. She’s almost completely lost her native Russian accent, and while she’s far from accepted by the popularati she’s at least got the “good sense” to keep herself above The Untouchables. She just might almost have the attention of the hottest boy in school, even.

And then she goes and falls down a well.
It’s a good book.

Greg Baldino lives and writes in Chicago where he–

Oh fine, there’s more.

Anya falls down a well, yes. Fortunately she’s okay. Unfortunately, the last young lady who fell down the well didn’t fair so well, and now her ghost haunts the remains of her skeleton. Anya manages to get out, but ends up taking a little bit of her new “friend” with her. At first she’s a pain (The ghost, not Anya. Well, Anya’s a bit of a pain too…) but soon the perks of having an invisible friend who can walk through walls start to make Anya’s life a little easier.

Then things get bad.



I rather enjoyed Anya’s Ghost. It’s a graphic novel with wonderfully smooth emotive lines and a very subtle use of black and gray tones that makes it seem oh-so-sweet-and-safe-and-innocent before things start to get dangerous. It’s a story about friendship, and appearances, and how sometimes the things we least want to hear are the most important. As I read it, I really started to feel like it was a sort-of older cousin to Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. Anya is definitely a full-blooded teenager; she talks back to her mother, smokes, makes bad decisions, and does everything she can to shirk responsibility.

Like I said, she’s a teenager.

But Anya gets put to the test by events that thrust her into territory that gets pretty damn menacing, and she has to face the fact that if she can’t get herself together she might lose the people that she forgot meant something to her. (And I don’t mean that in a “No one came to my birthday party!” kind of way, more a “No one found my mother’s body!” fashion. Despite this rather darkity dark dark darkness, writer-artist Vera Brosgol’s soft lines gives the book a warm feel. Think Harriet the Spy filtered through Clive Barker and you’ve kind of got it.

I really want to see more from Vera. Another Anya book would be great, but I trust her storytelling skills enough that whatever her next project is, I will check it out.

Greg Baldino lives and writes in Chicago, where there aren’t that many abandoned wells, but who knows what lurks in those subway tunnels?You can follow him on twitter @gregbaldino

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