It’s already hard enough for Russian American Anya to fit in at her preppy private school with a last name no one can pronounce (“Borzakovskaya”), a clueless mom and a booty that makes her regulation plaid skit a bit too snug. But after she takes a tumble down an abandoned well and discovers the skeleton of a long dead girl, life gets even more complicated. When Anya is finally rescued, she finds that she has brought home a little souvenir of her accident—Emily, the skeleton’s lonely ghost. At first Anya is annoyed with having to explain the modern world to Emily, who died ninety years ago. But soon she sees how having an invisible friend helps when it comes to cheating on tests or sneaking a smoke on school grounds. However, Emily begins wanting more and more of Anya’s attention, and Anya realizes that if she actually wants to make some living, breathing friends, Emily’s got to go. Except Emily has other plans… This gray-scale graphic novel is the kind of creepy treat I revere—a genuinely scary ghost story with a minimum of gore, a few well-placed frights and a bit of humor that turns gasps into giggles. Debut author and illustrator Vera Brosgol’s crisply drawn details convey Anya’s mood and characterization perfectly—down to the Belle and Sebastian and Weezer posters in moody, sarcastic Anya’s room. Besides being a classic ghost yarn and a realistic portrayal of the horror of high school, this is also a terrific story of being true to yourself and your culture while learning how to fit in on your own terms. After whetting your goulish appetite with Anya, try Hope Larson’s Mercury for more good ghostly, teen angst fun.
Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol