Anya's GhostAnya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here’s a nicely creepy blend of a ghost story, a high school outsider story, and a graphic novel. I loved that Anya as a character doesn’t feel like someone you’ve already met in a young adult book. Her family came to the US from Russia when she was young, and as she puts it, she “served her time in ESL.” She lost the accent but she still feels like an outsider. Things get stirred up when she falls down an old well and meets the ghost of a girl who died there in 1918 – and this ghost is a tricksy character. Emily is lonely and wants out of the well, but she’s tied to her bones – a problem she solves when Anya accidentally removes a tiny bone during her rescue. Emily sets out to prove she’s useful, but her interfering ends up forcing Anya to take a good hard look at who she is and what she values.

Recommended to any high school readers (or adults) who enjoy stories about outsiders with a side of creepy. The story works wonderfully in the graphic format, with facial expressions and settings quickly adding a lot of information that would otherwise slow a story down. Anya – and Emily – ring true as teenagers (I particularly liked Anya’s description of why she doesn’t like going to church with Russians).

Source: my public library

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