Anya’s Ghost; Vera Brosgol
A graphic novel, designed for teens, but plenty interesting for adults, too.
Anya doesn’t really fit in at school. An immigrant, she’s lost her Russian accent, and does her best to dress and act like everyone else, but she still doesn’t fit in with the other kids at her school. Her fairly typical teen body issues are made worse by the fatty Russian foods her mother cooks, so she passes up on another part of her heritage for carrots and apples to keep herself slim. She isolates herself from some who needs her and could be a friend, avoiding Dimi, another immigrant who is hopeless at fitting in.
All this is pretty standard–and then things change.
When she falls down a dry well, Anya finds bones at the bottom–and the ghost of a long-dead girl named Emily. In life, Emily was a loner like Anya, and she seems to understand Anya’s struggles to fit in. Even more, Emily wants to help–with schoolwork, talking with boys, dressing better, and so much more.
But why is she so eager to help? No gifts come without price, even if Emily seems endlessly willing. And has she given Anya the whole story of why she ended up down that well?
A beautifully illustrated graphic novel, this spooky ghost story unwinds in a fairly predictable, but still interesting fashion. The artwork centering around the ghost is especially interesting, reflecting changes in her personality. Emily is nicely spooky, and Anya is easy to relate to.