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5.0 out of 5 stars The Russian girl and the ghost, Feb. 20 2012
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Anya's Ghost (Hardcover)
Big surprise: "Anya's Ghost" is about a ghost. And a girl named Anya. But Vera Nosgol's graphic novel is definitely a lot more than that, as it shows a young girl discovering the difference between what she thinks she wants and what she really does want. And her journey is intertwined with wry humor, the uglier layers of high school, and a ghost story that takes a very sinister, dark turn in the last third.

Anya is a fairly typical teen girl -- embarrassed by her very Russian family, unhappy with her curvy body, and enamored of the handsomest, most popular boy at school. On her way home, Anya accidentally falls down an old well. At the bottom, she discovers a ghost named Emily who died there ninety years ago -- and when Anya gets out, she accidentally brings Emily's finger bone with her, allowing the ghost to roam with her.

And at first, Emily makes everything better -- she sympathizes with Anya's woes, helps her on tests, and even helps her interact with her crush. But at a wild party, Anya discovers that the "perfect" teenagers don't quite have the perfect lives she thought. And after a bit of research into Emily's death, Anya realizes that her new friend has a horrifying dark side -- and unless Anya does what she wants, she's going to target Anya's family.

At first, "Anya's Ghost" feels like a 1980s John Hughes coming-of-age movie, only with the added twist of a ghostly companion. There's a lot of angst, crushes, school woes, and a teenage heroine who has to discover what is really important for her in life. And at first, it seems that this is a light little tale about a girl and her ghostly BFF. But everything takes a dark, spinechilling turn later in the story, especially since Emily suddenly develops a creepy, Single White Female-ish fixation on Anya's love life.

And Nosgol's stark, thick-lined artwork really enhances all the emotions the characters feel. The climax is absolutely, um, spinechilling, without any excessive flourishes. And the scene where Anya has an honest talk with the class outcast is touching without being maudlin.

And Anya herself is a startlingly realistic depiction of a teenage girl -- she's embarrassed by her odd family, tries desperately to fit in, and is uncomfortable with her curvy body. But before long, we see hints that her disaffected, sarcastic persona is just a shell, and that the real Anya is a much more reliable, goodhearted person. Emily is the flipside: she seems sweet, gentle and earnest at first, but grows increasingly creepy.

"Anya's Ghost" is one half ghost story, one half high-school/coming-of-age tale. And it's a superb, eerie story right to the end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Graphic Novels I've read in a while!, May 9 2013
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This review is from: Anya's Ghost (Paperback)
Awesome, great story! Great Art! This is a classic. I would recommend for any fan of the medium, it's a great tale of teenage angst.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, March 27 2013
This review is from: Anya's Ghost (Hardcover)
Poor Anya. Her life is going nowhere. Sean, her crush, is already taken by a pretty blonde, her mother keeps pressuring her to follow Russian traditions and her best friend, Siobhan is not giving her the support she believes she deserves.

And then to top this off, she falls down a well and meets Emily, a ghost of a murdered teen. Can things get any worse? Oh, yes!

This book was impossible to put down. For one thing, it was beautifully drawn, feeling more like a movie than a book. Anya was no Mary-Sue. She was tenacious, and stood up for herself. All she wanted was to fit in, something we are all familiar with. She reminded me a lot of Neil Gaiman's Coraline.

I recommend this to anyone who is searching for a dark yet witty story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Visual poem for a teen immigrant, Jan. 6 2013
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This review is from: Anya's Ghost (Hardcover)
Anya's ghost is the story of Anya, a teenage girl from an immigrant family who struggles to fit in a private u.s.a. school. Until she meets Emily, a 100 years old ghost who seems to be harmless and helps her to be successful in her studies and with boys. The more and more Anya becomes distracted by her new social schedule, the more she is careless of the growing control of Emily over her daily life decisions.

Vera Brosgol's first book is a superbly drawn comic which style's reflect the author's past work in animation. The lines are clean and sharp, the shapes are smooth. The minimalistic use of color adds depth to the heavy line art. While being a story aimed for a younger public, Brosgol succeed to make it easily enjoyable for people past the teen years. I would love to see this book adapted for a short cartoon serie. Despite the expected ending and issues found in any teen stories, Anya's ghost is a greatly enjoyable light read and a nice addition to every comic books collector's library.

I will be eager for more books from this Moscow born artist.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, April 8 2012
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This review is from: Anya's Ghost (Paperback)
I love the artwork in this graphic novel! The story was also great, but I had a better time looking at the characters, especially the expressions.

If you have the money and love graphic novels, I think this would be a fine addition to your collection. Use the $20 your parents' gave you for your lunch money this month for this book. You don't need to eat.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant creepy ghost story!, Oct. 4 2011
By 
Nicola Manning-Mansfield (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Anya's Ghost (Paperback)
Reason for Reading: I love a good ghost story!

Brilliant creepy ghost story! Anya is a Russian immigrant highschool student. She's been in America since she was 5 so she's pretty much Americanized except for her name, but she doesn't see it that way. She feels as though she has to struggle to fit in at school, that her mother and her Russian cooking and ways are embarrassing, that she's expected to be friends with the new Russian nerdy kid is beyond endurance, especially since she only has one friend herself who is also an outsider. What with normal teen issues such as body image, a crush on the school's cutest guy and embarrassing herself in gym; it's not like she doesn't have enough on her plate. But then one day she falls down an open well in the woods and finds a skeleton and its ghost. The ghost comes along with her and becomes her new best friend, but what at first seems a sad, kind, helpful ghost turns into something much more sinister and Anya realizes she's put her whole family at risk.

Absolutely loved this! The pace was perfect; it just slowly got creepier and creepier and watching the ghost's true self come out was a lot of fun. Anya was a great heroine; someone easily relatable to, with issues similar to all of us at that age. Do take note of the age recommendation (14+), the book is written about teenagers and contains material or references to topics that will not be appropriate for youngers.
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Anya's Ghost
Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol (Hardcover - June 7 2011)
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