February 4, 2012

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Anya is a Russian immigrant teen who is trying desperately to leave her culture behind to be accepted as a typical American high school girl. She's rather unsuccessful as, she has only one friend (who is rather abusive to her), is not doing well in school, and lusts for a jock who already has the beautiful blonde babe girlfriend. She skips the bus to school and side-tracks through a wooded park where she falls into a deep well. Lighting a match (yes, she's a smoker to be cool...all apart of the effort to fit in) she discovers a skeleton, from which the ghost of Emily Reilly appears. Emily is delighted to see Anya, as she has been in the well for 90 years. Anya wants little to do with her, and when found leaves her behind...so she thinks. One of Emily' bones is swept up in her bag as she leaves, and Emily reappears at school. Emily helps Anya with a test, helps her get invited to a party, and soon Anya sees value in a friendship with this ghost, and decides to let Emily stay. Emily seals her friendship when she explains to Anya, that her fiancee was sent off to World War I and killed. Her family was murdered and in her escape from the same fate, she fell into the hole and was never found. Anya promises to investigate and solve her murder so she can rest in peace.
      This is a graphic novel whose story is humorous and horrifying centering around a character that is full of teen angst, and very believable in her actions and reactions to the social pressures of an immigrant trying to fit in. While I found some curious inconsistencies in the story, this is a great, quick read for grades seven and up.
Reed Reads Score: 3.5

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