Fiction | Graphic Novel/Book | YA | Published in 2011
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Characters / Anya's Ghost
Edit locked, annushka "anya" borzakovskaya.
A Russian-American teenage girl convinced that she's fat and unattractive, the protagonist of the story. She's an immigrant living with her mother and brother Sasha, attending the third worst private school in the state and trying to get by amongst rowdy classmates and boring classes by smoking and ditching with her friend Siobhan. After she finds Emily, Anya's life becomes a little more bearable.
- All of the Other Reindeer : Her backstory was being cruelly bullied by other children when she was younger, just because her family were poor Russian immigrants. Downplayed in the present—she occasionally gets laughed at by other students when something embarrassing happens to her, but she's not considered an outcast, even being able to hitch a ride to a popular kids' party and being considered attractive by multiple boys.
- Big Sister Instinct : She might think her brother is a big pain, but she will still comfort and defend him from harm like when Emily frightens him after her true nature is revealed.
- Book Dumb : Her grades aren't so great but she is socially savvy.
- Disappeared Dad : Her father is not present and is implied to have divorced her mother, based on a comment from her mother that she uses child support to pay for "a good American private school".
- Establishing Character Moment : In the first couple pages, Anya complains about the syrniki her mom is making because they're too greasy, instead opting for an apple and some yogurt. When her little brother Sasha says he loves them, she cheerfully says, "Well, you can have mine then." Then, when Mom reminds Anya that she loved them when she was a little girl, Anya disdainfully comments that back then, she "weighed 300 pounds and kinda looked like Grandma." We can quickly deduce that Anya has self-image issues, isn't really proud of her Russian heritage, and is a bit snippy, but still has a soft side.
- Hartman Hips : Downplayed and averted, Anya's legs and hips are impressive, but not unrealistically large.
- Hiding Your Heritage : Anya dislikes her lengthy Russian surname and pretends it's "Brown" when someone else asks her about it. She does the same with her first name, Annushka.
- Hollywood Pudgy : Invoked; Anya is so insecure she looks in the mirror and sees a fat girl, when in reality she's just got a curvy body type.
- I Am Not Pretty : Firmly believes she isn't attractive and that she never was attractive, even when several people insist otherwise.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold : Anya has a definite mean side, including smoking, being rude to Emily and refusing to help her when they first meet, being ashamed of her Russian heritage, and believing Dima deserves to be beaten up everyday for acting so "fobby." However, she's actually a good person underneath who begins to wise up to why her behaviors are harmful after seeing them reflected in Emily, and she eventually quits them for good.
- Loving a Shadow : Anya, like many typical teenage girls, is infatuated with the Big Man on Campus , a handsome and popular sports star, and seeks Emily�s help in winning him for herself. However, her infatuation vanishes when she discovers that the guy she has been pining for is a Manipulative Bastard who preys on his girlfriend�s insecurities so he can cheat on her constantly with her knowledge and even her help .
- No Periods, Period : Joked about when Anya's mom is trying to get her to go to church and possibly meet a boy she knows. Anya cheerfully says she'll go, then immediately claims that she got her period "just now", causing her mother to give up and go alone.
- She Cleans Up Nicely : She looks gorgeous wearing a low-cut top and short skirt at Matt's party, attracting the attention of at least two boys. Downplayed, because she's hardly unattractive in the first place to begin with (even if she thinks otherwise).
- Smoking Is Cool : She's seen smoking cigarettes in several scenes, fitting her desire to become a cool, popular teenager. At the end of the book, she gives it up, showing that she's starting to mature.
- Vitriolic Best Buds : With Siobhan, although she tends to take her jabs a little harder when in a bad mood, and especially if it concerns her crush on Sean.
- Weight Woe : Anya thinks she's fat and is strongly self-conscious about her weight. Apparently she was chubby when she was younger and was teased about it, which is where her self-esteem issues originate from.
- What You Are in the Dark : At Matt's party, she finds out that Sean, her crush, sleeps around with other girls and that Elizabeth, his girlfriend, lets him get away with it, being an Extreme Doormat . When Sean invites Anya to join him and another girl in the bathroom, she can't bring herself to hurt Elizabeth more by doing it. This turns out to be what makes her different from Emily—Anya is unwilling to hurt others to get what she wants, while Emily has no such qualms about doing so.
- Youthful Freckles : Has freckled round cheeks but not the cheerful persona.
A sweet little ghost girl whom Anya meets at the bottom of an old well, having died in 1917. She explains that she and her family were murdered by an unknown insane man and she fell while running from him. Ever since, she's been trapped in the well, at least until meeting Anya. After she comes home with her she's quite friendly and helpful. But she wants to stay Anya's friend forever...
- Big Bad : She turns out to be a complete psychopath who was willing to murder her crush when he loved someone else, and ends up trying to force Anya to live as she wants her to live, turning her malevolence to Anya's family to try and force her to comply.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing : Normally seems meek and mousy, but can be domineering and catty when pushed. As well as outright murderous.
- But Now I Must Go : During their final confrontation, Anya finally convinces Emily that holding on to her desire to see true love has just trapped her in one place. Once she realizes this, Emily finally disincorporates and 'moves on'.
- Cute Ghost Girl : She's spindly and has hair like a dandelion, making her more of a mousy cute.
- Ghostly Goals : She wants to experience a hyper-idealized life of teenage bliss and happiness, which she cannot because she is dead. So she does it through Anya instead.
- If I Can't Have You� : When she was rejected by her crush and saw him kissing the girl he was in love with, she barred the doors of his house from the outside and burned it to the ground with both him and his girlfriend inside it.
- Jacob Marley Apparel : She's stuck wearing the same jumper she wore when she died, and is even a little upset she can't wear more modern clothes.
- Manipulative Bastard : She pretty easily makes herself indispensable for Anya by ingratiating herself into her personal life and making things easy for her. Once that's done, she moves on to "encouraging" Anya by giving her helpful "advice" on how to live.
- Non-Human Sidekick : She's one for Anya, being a ghost who is extremely helpful to her in school and her social life.
- Noodle People : Her ghost form is floaty, but even in life she was thin and flat and small. She later lampshades this after reading some magazines and learning her body type is a "Ruler".
- "Not So Different" Remark : Near the end, when Anya calls her out on her evil behavior, Emily insists that Anya would have done the same thing if "she had held the match in her hands" and seen her crush with his love together. Anya denies it vehemently.
- Unreliable Narrator : On two instances: The boy she was in love with and supposedly engaged to, who supposedly died in World War I, actually didn't like her at all and she killed him after he rejected her for another girl. Leading into her second claim that she was chased into the well by a maniac—she was actually chased by an angry mob for said murder and fell down the well in the process.
- Vague Age : Most descriptions and her appearance in the story state she was a little girl at the time of her death (which was in 1917 if the story is set in 2011), while most (readers and Anya) assume her to be around Anya's age, particularly since she was engaged to be married; even in the 1910s, most people in America usually married in their late teens at the earliest. Except she was lying about being engaged; plus the photo of her that Anya finds in the newspaper report about her crimes shows her dressed in a rather juvenile fashion. Either way, her age isn't clear.
- Yandere : The book's cover implies she becomes this to Anya, but she actually was one to a boy she liked when she was alive, burning him alive with his lover.
Anya's best friend, although the two of them often have disagreements. She's an Irish girl with a load of terrifying older brothers and the only female in the school to wear pants. She's also caustic, another smoker, and a bit of a delinquent—despite this, she genuinely cares for Anya and the tries to help in her own way.
- A-Cup Angst : A tiny bit; Anya snarks at least that Siobhan is just jealous that no boy ever "talks to her boobs."
- Black Bead Eyes : Her character design, with bags underneath that make her look tired.
- Boyish Short Hair : Siobhan has a very short haircut that makes her look decidedly unfeminine.
- Deadpan Snarker : This trait tends to tick Anya off, but Siobhan can't seem to help herself.
- Fighting Irish : Downplayed. Siobhan is Irish, and while not physically aggressive, she is The Lad-ette , behaves like a delinquent, and doesn't hesitate to throw verbal jabs at a girl being rude to Anya. Katy: Hey, Anya, I heard about your nice moves in gym today! note Earlier that day, Anya had tripped while running during the bleep test and her short skirt had gone up, resulting in an embarrassing Panty Shot . Siobhan: Hey, Katy, I heard about your nice moves in the boys' bathroom today!
- Genre Savvy : She says that Anya's crush on Sean is like something out of a teen movie and questions if he's really being nice to Anya or to "her boobs." She's right about that.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold : She's sarcastic, foul-mouthed, smokes (while bumming smokes off Anya), ditches class, and other delinquent behaviors, but she truly does care about Anya and defends her when anyone else picks on her.
- Lady Looks Like a Dude : Take out the hair clips and one could mistake her as a boy for her short hair, clothes, tall frame, and thin and flat body.
- Massive Numbered Siblings : According to Anya, she has "about five thousand terrifying brothers".
- Nightmare Fetishist : She thinks Anya staying in a hole for two days is "badass" and is absolutely thrilled to hear she found a skeleton in it.
- Vitriolic Best Buds : With Anya. The two often trade barbs at each other, but Siobhan is her only real friend. And a way better friend than Emily.
Anya's crush. He's a handsome player on the basketball team who has a sure shot at becoming captain senior year. He's also dating Elizabeth Standard, which makes it hard for Anya to even get the nerve to approach him even if she wasn't feeling insecure. After meeting Emily, Anya just might have the courage to make her move after all.
- The Ace : He's hot, well-liked, and a star on the basketball team dating one of the nicest girls in school. He's also fairly popular in the bedroom, too, unfortunately for his girlfriend....
- All Men Are Perverts : He's actually a major creep who cheats on his girlfriend (sometimes with his friends' girlfriends ) and only pays attention to Anya because she's curvy.
- Big Jerk on Campus : A handsome and popular basketball star dating the Class Princess , who is the object of Anya�s affections. However, those affections quickly fade away when she finds out that Sean is a Jerkass who constantly cheats on Elizabeth, sometimes with other guys� girlfriends, and takes advantage of his girlfriend�s insecurities to make her not just Turn the Other Cheek , but also to actively help him cheat .
- Black Bead Eyes : He's got these for his eyes, which give him a resemblance to Emily's crush.
- Manipulative Bastard : Takes advantage of his girlfriend�s insecurities and self-loathing to recruit her in helping him cheat on her whenever he wants .
- Nice Guy : He comes off as this to Anya at first, as an attentive boyfriend who's also quite friendly to her. He actually is a pretty bad boyfriend though, sleeping around and having Elizabeth keep watch.
Sean's girlfriend and one of the prettiest, most athletic girls in school—naturally she's like Anya's arch-rival in the story, especially in getting Sean's attention. Despite this, Elizabeth isn't a very mean girl, and as Anya eventually learns she has problems of her own.
- The Ace : In-Universe. Lampshaded by Anya—everything about her is utterly nice, making her wish Elizabeth would show just once that she can be imperfect too. She gets her wish when she sees how insecure Elizabeth is at Matt's party.
- Alpha Bitch : Subverted and deconstructed.
- Beneath the Mask : She may seem happy and carefree all the time, but at Matt's party the truth comes out— she's a miserable girl with low self esteem who knowingly dates and aids a sleazebag.
- Class Princess : Anya hates Elizabeth for being so sweet and perfect in addition to being beautiful and a Dude Magnet . However, it�s deconstructed when it�s revealed that her niceness hides huge insecurities and makes her an Extreme Doormat .
- Disposable Fianc� : As Sean's girlfriend, this trope is played with; she initially seems to be the bland type compared to Anya, as pictured in Anya's own imagine spot, but Anya sees that Sean really does view her as disposable, or at least not worth being faithful to, and Anya can't bear to take that same view when she realizes this.
- Emasculated Cuckold : Gender Inverted . Anya has a crush on her classmate Sean, one of the most popular boys at school. She looks to steal him away from Elizabeth, a popular girl that she resents for being perfect. When Sean invites Anya to a party, Anya is happy, seeing it as the perfect chance to steal Sean from Elizabeth. To Anya's shock, she learns that Sean is a sleazeball that sleeps around with other girls and invited her to have a three-way with his best friend's girlfriend in the bathroom. She's also shock to learn that Elizabeth knows about the cheating and even miserably keeps watch over the door. Anya can't bring herself to sleep with Sean and hurt Elizabeth, and leaves the party. Before she leaves, Anya asks Elizabeth why she lets Sean treat her that way; Elizabeth admits that she is really miserable and insecure and Sean makes her happy. She loves Sean, or she thinks she loves him, and will do anything to keep him in her life.
- Foreshadowing : When Anya falls and Elizabeth jumps over her to avoid getting tripped, she asks Anya if she is alright. This goes to show that she is a Stepford Smiler .
- Insecure Love Interest : Deconstruction . Elizabeth Standard is one of the prettiest, most athletic girls in school, dating one of the more popular boys, Sean. Everything about her seems to be perfect, and despite how jealous Anya and the other girls are of her she appears to be a nice and carefree girl. Then at a party Anya learns that Sean is a creep who sleeps around with other girls (even his friend's girlfriend) with Elizabeth not only knowing but keeping watch; Anya, who come to the party to steal Sean from Elizabeth, couldn't bring herself to sleep with Sean and hurt Elizabeth. Before Anya leaves the party, she asks Elizabeth why she lets Sean treat her like that, and Elizabeth tells her that while she appears happy, she really is miserable and insecure, and the only person that makes her really happy is Sean. Because she loves him, or as she admits, thinks she loves him, she's willing to do anything to keep him in her life, even though his cheating and her covering for his cheating is hurting her.
- Love Martyr : She loves Sean—or at least thinks she does—so she'll do anything to keep him—including showing that she's "cool" with him sleeping around by keeping watch while he does it.
- Meaningful Name : Everything about her seems to be "standard" perfect traits for a rival love interest—thin, blonde, nice, athletic, and clear skin.
- Oblivious to Hatred : Anya is jealous of and greatly resents popular girl Elizabeth Standard. She has a crush on Elizabeth's boyfriend Sean and plans to steal him from her. Anya hates how everything about her is utterly nice, making her wish Elizabeth would show just once that she can be imperfect too. Elizabeth appears to be completely in the dark about how Anya feels about her, and treats her nicely. Anya later lets go of her jealousy and resentment of Elizabeth when she learns that Sean is a creep who sleeps around with other girls, while Elizabeth allows him to cheat on her because she is miserable and insecure without him - Elizabeth is willing to do anything to keep him in her life because he makes her happy.
- Stepford Smiler : Elizabeth is seen by many as the girl who has it all, looks, talent, charm, and the perfect boyfriend, pulling off anything with a sweet smile. But Anya finds out that her sweet smile is hiding overwhelming insecurities, as she is so desperate to keep Sean in her life that she actively finds girls for him to cheat on her with .
A little Russian boy whose family is friends with Anya's. He's nerdy, intelligent, small, and moved to America at a later point in his life than Anya—all making him a prime target for bullies. Anya, for her part, tries to ignore him, believing he deserves the bullying for being a "fobby creep" and not wanting more of the same.
- All of the Other Reindeer : He has a hard time in school; he even mentions how he can't go to gym anymore because the other kids broke his glasses so much and his family can't afford replacing them.
- Oblivious to Hatred : Dima, a little Russian boy whose family is friends with Anya's mother, was always friendly with Anya and appears to think they're friends. In fact, Anya hates him and tries to ignore him, believing he deserves to be bullied for being a "fobby creep". Later in the story, when Anya realizes how unfair and judgmental she has been, she starts to be nicer to Dima. She opens up to him on how she was also bullied as a child, telling him not to worry about impressing his schoolmates because being popular isn't really that important.
Anya's unnamed mother who brought herself and her children over from Russia. An obese woman whom Anya seems terrified of turning into and is embarrassed by, she is nonetheless a kind and caring mother who often worries about her daughter's moodiness and negativity.
- Bespectacled Cutie : Has big round glasses that emphasize her large eyes and looks endearing.
- Big Beautiful Woman : Attractive and overweight and believes in this trope, stating that in Russia, being fat makes you look as though you have a lot of money.
- Foreign Cuss Word : She yells, "Oy...bleen...my leg!" when she falls down the stairs and hurts her ankle. "Bleen" (or "blin") literally means "pancake", but is most often used as an euphemism for a very rude Russian word, "blyad".
- Funny Foreigner : One of the reasons that she's so embarrassing to Anya is that she's sort of like this, such as when studying for the citizenship test and comedically flubbing who Benjamin Franklin was. She also can't speak English as well as Anya, leading to saying that in Russia being fat meant you were a "rich man."
- Good Parents : She's a sweet mother to Anya and Sasha.
- Gratuitous Russian : Provides all of it in the story, starting from what food she was making for breakfast. Oddly enough, she speaks in the Cyrillic alphabet initially and then the texts switches to a Romanization of Russian instead.
Anya's little brother, a young boy with a fascination with dinosaurs and other large scary animals. He drives Anya up the wall with his habit of stealing her jewelry and burying it in the backyard so he can "discover" it later.
- Annoying Younger Sibling : Downplayed; he's mostly annoying for burying Anya's jewelry and being incredibly chipper when Anya herself is moody and depressed.
- Chekhov's Hobby : He's obsessed with paleontology and dinosaur bones, which becomes a plot point later when he finds Emily's finger bone that Anya was searching for, giving her the opportunity to get it out of the house and throw it back down the well, getting rid of the ghostly menace for good .
- Gender-Blender Name : Sasha is a girl's name in America; his family is from Russia, though, where it's a nickname for "Alexander."
- Youthful Freckles : He has them in much larger supply than Anya.
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Vera brosgol (illustrator).
Misfit teen Anya attends a private high school where the only people who really talk with her are tough-girl frenemy Siobhan and fellow Russian immigrant Dima, whom Anya deems too “fobbie” (fresh off the boat) to be her friend. She wants to be more American, especially more slender like most of the other girls in school, but it’s not easy with her single mom plying her with heavy, fried Russian breakfasts. Then one day, her mind filled with all her problems, Anya walks right into a hole in the ground and falls into an abandoned well, where she finds a skeleton. This skeleton has a ghost, a teenage girl, who helps get Anya rescued, and then follows Anya home. She says her name is Emily Reilly, and she was murdered ninety years before. Before long, Emily starts helping Anya pass her exams, dress more fashionably, and stalk her secret crush, school basketball star Sean. At first, Anya enjoys her new BFF, but as time goes by she realizes that Emily has taken over a lot of her life. When Anya tries to do things her own way, Emily threatens her friends and family.
Brosgol’s art is economical but expressive, using heavy black lines and shades of murky purple to set the mood; she uses her art to build the suspense, allowing readers to notice Emily becoming more sinister before Anya realizes what is happening. Anya is far from a perfect person: she smokes, cuts classes, disrespects her immigrant mother, and she’s willing to let Emily help her cheat in order to succeed and become more popular. However, when she realizes what trouble she’s in and that her family faces danger from the ghost, she finds the courage to do the right thing. Teen readers will find a great, suspenseful ghost story along with the story of a teenage girl trying to find her own identity.
Reviewed by : KK
Themes : BEST FRIENDS. GRAPHIC NOVELS. SUPERNATURAL. MYSTERY & THRILLERS.
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CRITICS HAVE SAID
- Brosgol’s debut graphic novel–taut, witty, and breezily paced–seems to be heading in a very familiar direction, and then, abruptly, veers off toward a completely different and much more clever third act. Publishers Weekly
- The mix of mystery, horror, and the coming-of-age theme combined with the appealing graphic style will make Anya’s Ghost an ideal choice for reluctant teen readers. School Library Journal
- A deliciously creepy page-turning gem from first-time writer and illustrator Brosgol finds brooding teenager Anya trying to escape the past–both her own and the ghost haunting her. Kirkus Reviews
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Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2004.
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by Vera Brosgol & illustrated by Vera Brosgol ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 7, 2011
Anya feels out of place at her preppy private school; embarrassed by her Russian heritage, she has worked hard to lose her...
A deliciously creepy page-turning gem from first-time writer and illustrator Brosgol finds brooding teenager Anya trying to escape the past—both her own and the ghost haunting her.
Pub Date: June 7, 2011
Page Count: 224
Publisher: First Second/Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011
TEENS & YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY | GENERAL GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMICS
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by Casey Lyall ; illustrated by Vera Brosgol
by Vera Brosgol ; illustrated by Vera Brosgol
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by Rebecca Ross ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 4, 2023
Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy.
A war between gods plays havoc with mortals and their everyday lives.
In a time of typewriters and steam engines, Iris Winnow awaits word from her older brother, who has enlisted on the side of Enva the Skyward goddess. Alcohol abuse led to her mother’s losing her job, and Iris has dropped out of school and found work utilizing her writing skills at the Oath Gazette . Hiding the stress of her home issues behind a brave face, Iris competes for valuable assignments that may one day earn her the coveted columnist position. Her rival for the job is handsome and wealthy Roman Kitt, whose prose entrances her so much she avoids reading his articles. At home, she writes cathartic letters to her brother, never posting them but instead placing them in her wardrobe, where they vanish overnight. One day Iris receives a reply, which, along with other events, pushes her to make dramatic life decisions. Magic plays a quiet role in this story, and readers may for a time forget there is anything supernatural going on. This is more of a wartime tale of broken families, inspired youths, and higher powers using people as pawns. It flirts with clichéd tropes but also takes some startling turns. Main characters are assumed White; same-sex marriages and gender equality at the warfront appear to be the norm in this world.
Pub Date: April 4, 2023
Page Count: 368
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023
TEENS & YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY | TEENS & YOUNG ADULT FAMILY
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by Rebecca Ross
A TWISTED TALE ANTHOLOGY
From the twisted tale series.
edited by Elizabeth Lim ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 3, 2023
An entertaining compilation that will satisfy Disney fans.
A whole collection of Disney what ifs.
What if Snow White picked up some magic? What if Mufasa survived his fall? What if Tinker Bell worked for Captain Hook? What if Aurora was raised with knowledge of Maleficent’s curse? YA authors explore these possibilities (and more) in this collection of 16 short stories. Previous contributors to the A Twisted Tale series return—Liz Braswell, Jen Calonita, Farrah Rochon, and editor Lim. Joining them are Livia Blackburne, M.K. England, Micol Ostow, and Kristina Pérez. The shorter format allows readers to revisit some movies that already have their own novel-length treatments ( The Little Mermaid , Mulan , Hercules , The Princess and the Frog ) as well as others that often get less attention ( Robin Hood , Treasure Planet , Bambi ), which is refreshing. Some of the stories have radical and intriguing premises (Rochon’s “A New Dawn,” Braswell’s “A Royal Game of Chess,” and Lim’s “The Rose and the Thorns”). The stories that take place after the canon may be the most fun for some readers, since they don’t upend the original beloved narratives (Lim’s “A First Mission” and Calonita’s “The Envelope” and “Fates, Three”). A couple of the tales offer some expanded backstory or fill in missing scenes (Pérez’s “A Dragon in the Snow” and Braswell’s “The Reluctant Prince”). All in all, this volume contains a pleasing variety of well-crafted entries.
Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2023
Page Count: 576
Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
TEENS & YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
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[graphic novel review] anya’s ghost by vera brosgol.
November 8, 2018 Erica Robyn 14 Comments
Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol was a cute graphic novel about a high school girl named Anya who becomes friends with a ghost. Things seem pretty innocent at first, but they certainly take a dark turn!
Let’s dive right in!
My Thoughts on Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
The story follows the main character, Anya, as she deal with typical family and high school related drama.
But suddenly, the story takes a very dark turn that I wasn’t expecting. I understood that there would be a ghost, as the synopsis explains. So when Anya first discovers the ghost, that wasn’t too shocking. But what happens later on totally threw me for a loop!
The artwork was simple and fun. I really enjoyed how wonderfully illustrated the characters and their facial expressions were.
Unfortunately I can’t saw much else without giving too much away! So overall, this was a fun read! I definitely enjoyed it while I was reading, though I don’t think this is one I’d reread. Even so, I would recommend it!
Snag a copy through Bookshop to help support local indie bookshops:
Thanks for reading!
November 8, 2018 at 12:37 pm
Yikes, the way those kids talk to each other in the first picture – wow! But I kinda want to know what this dark turn is all about!
November 8, 2018 at 10:09 pm
November 8, 2018 at 12:41 pm
I really enjoyed this one! And the last MG graphic novel I read was probably by this author…Be Prepared. 🙂
November 8, 2018 at 12:44 pm
I liked this one a lot more than Be Prepared! 😀 I can't wait to check out more from this author!
November 8, 2018 at 1:54 pm
Looks right up my alley!
November 8, 2018 at 2:16 pm
I’d love to read your review if you pick it up!
November 8, 2018 at 3:47 pm
I love this author! My daughter would be horrified at the name-calling, but it's good to see examples of what bullying really looks like for girls.
November 8, 2018 at 10:04 pm
November 9, 2018 at 2:01 am
I don't think I've ever read a middle grade graphic novel before. This one sounds good though and that unexpected twist with the ghost really has me curious.
November 9, 2018 at 11:15 am
November 14, 2018 at 2:31 am
Great review, Ahh I am really glad you enjoyed this graphic novel because I really love it as well when I read it last year too. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post my friend.
November 14, 2018 at 2:44 am
It's just so cute!!
November 24, 2018 at 2:58 pm
I've been hearing good things about this graphic novel and I am glad you could love to unexpected element to it so much ^.^
November 24, 2018 at 3:47 pm
😀 I definitely recommend it!
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Annushka Borzakovskaya or Anya is a Russian-American immigrant, Sasha's older sister, and the main protagonist of the award-winning supernatural graphic novel Anya's Ghost .
Personality [ ]
Anya Is an insecure and dowdy teenage schoolgirl, a Russian-American (although she's lost the accent), who finds herself struggling with the day-to-day trials of high school life, like her crush Sean and mouthy friend Siobhan.
In Anya's Ghost [ ]
In the novel, unpopular Anya befriends the ghost of Emily , an equitably-aged girl who died 90 years ago. After failing to make Anya popular and happy, Emily becomes manipulative and controlling leading Anya to discover that Emily actually died running from the police after murdering her unrequited love. Emily and Anya eventually face off over the truth and Emily's attempts to live the life she never had through Anya.
Anya discovers Emily's skeleton.
Anya is a Russian emigre living in the United States with her mother and brother (Sasha). Unpopular at her New England private high school, Anya skips school and walks through a nearby forest. Not seeing it, Anya falls into a dry well and finds herself alongside a human skeleton. The skeleton’s ghost, a shy, homely girl named Emily appears and explains that she too fell down the well and died of dehydration after breaking her neck 90 years ago. Emily wishes to befriend and help Anya, but cannot move far from her bones. Anya is soon rescued by a passerby, but Emily's skeleton remains undiscovered.
Emily later appears to Anya at school, Anya having inadvertently taken a finger bone from Emily's skeleton. Anya decides to keep the bone after Emily helps her cheat on a biology exam and spy on her crush, Sean. Emily gives her full name as Emily Reilly and explains that her fiancé died fighting in World War I, and that her parents were murdered at home. She was running from the killer when she fell down the well. Anya promises to find Emily’s killer, while Emily agrees to help Anya fit in at school and win over Sean. As their friendship develops, Anya drifts away from her one friend at school (Siobhan) while Emily becomes disinterested in discovering her murderer's identity.
At Emily's insistence, Anya dresses up and goes to a party attended by Sean and his girlfriend Elizabeth. There, Anya discovers that Sean habitually cheats on Elizabeth with her consent. Distraught, Anya leaves the party which makes Emily angry and confused for she believed Anya and Sean were destined for each other. Anya later notices Emily becoming more controlling than before and adjusting her appearance by straightening her hair and smoking ghostly cigarettes. Anya goes to the library without Emily to research the killer, and learns that Emily had no fiancé, and had in fact murdered a young couple in their home after the man rejected her, and then died running from the authorities.
When Anya returns home, the finger bone is missing. After being confronted with the truth, Emily shows that she is capable of moving solid objects, implying she put her finger bone in Anya's bag. Emily begins threatening Anya’s family to make Anya comply, even causing Anya’s mother to fall down the stairs. After Emily appears before Sasha, he reveals he found the bone earlier; Anya retrieves it and runs to the well, pursued by Emily.
Once there, Anya confronts Emily and accuses her of trying to live vicariously through Anya. Emily rebukes Anya, saying that she is no better (Anya having lied to Sean and distanced herself from Siobhan), and that the two of them are more alike then she wants to admit. After Emily fails to push Anya into the well, Anya drops the bone back in. Emily then possesses her own skeleton, and climbs out to give further chase. Anya stops and instead convinces Emily of the futility of her situation, causing the tearful ghost to dissipate, and the skeleton to fall back into the well. Later, Anya convinces her school to fill the well and rekindles her friendship with Siobhan.
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Review: Anya's Ghost
But when an unsolicited copy of * Anya's Ghost *from publisher First Second Books , the debut book by Vera Brosgol, arrived at our house this winter, I was the first one to grab it. For one thing, the book had blurbs by two of my kids' heroes, Scott McCloud and Neil Gaiman . And along with the spooky title, the cover art bore a resemblance to one of my favorite graphic novels, Persepolis . I'm sure it didn't hurt that along with a visual style both cartoony and somber, it also starred a female character.
Anya's Ghost tells the story of a teenage outsider who blames her Russian immigrant family and friends for her failure to fit in with the crowd at her snobby private school. Anya is not exactly a model student: she smokes, wears her school uniform plaid skirt at mini length, and cuts class to hang out with her only friend, tough girl Siobhan. She's got a crush on the school dreamboat, Sean, but finds herself followed around by "fobby" ("fresh off the boat") Dima.
Anya's dreary life takes a turn when she falls into a hole in the woods and meets the ghost of a long-dead young woman, Emily. A bit like Moaning Myrtle , Emily is a clingy spirit who resents missing out on the life of a normal teenage girl. When she manages to follow Anya home, she looks for ways to prove useful enough to convince Anya to let her stick around. And Anya begins to enjoy the benefits of an invisible friend who can help her navigate the sometimes complicated world of an American high school. Naturally, trouble ensues. And as you can guess from the tone of the book's artwork, it will be more diabolical than slapstick.
Anya's Ghost is a well-wrought meshing of teen angst and fantasy, told in a visual style that is perfectly aimed for YA fans, especially girls like Anya. The pictures are lively and sophisticated (Brosgol was a storyboard artist for the animated film version of Coraline ), conveying action and sexuality without hitting you over the head with it. And while Anya does pine for a boyfriend, the book refreshingly doesn't make it the center of her coming-of-age tale.
I'm glad that Anya's Ghost landed in my mailbox, introducing me to another take on the graphic novel format. And now that I've discovered Vera Brosgol , I'll be keeping an eye out for more of her work in the future!
Jennifer M. Wood
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Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol - review
A nya's Ghost. The title means it already appeals to a certain type of person. If you like scaring yourself to sleep at night with a creepy horror story, of course, you will not regret picking up this book.
However, I'm not a horror person. If I'm choosing a new book, I don't reach for a book with the words 'ghost', 'horror', or 'disgusting terror' in the title. But fortunately, someone realised I'm awful at choosing books, for that reason exactly. Several people could fall asleep looking at my bookcase. Family problems, teenage dramas, and (the occasional) fairy story. Anyway, enough of the rambling, long story short, someone bought it for me, as a Christmas present. Honestly, I appreciated it, but I was on quickly enough to the mysterious box that smelt like chocolate (it was chocolate, but that's not that important).
About a week later I was tidying my table, and I came across it again. I did go through the 'I must read that' thought process, but I shoved it on the book shelf with all the other books all the same. In the same week, my mother started a graphic novel for adults, named 'drinking at the movies.' Which she loved. This brought her to ask me if she could read my new book, 'Anya's Ghost.' I said yes, and in another week she had finished it. Her words, quoted correctly "This is a really good book Grace, you would enjoy it." So, I read it, and I'm really glad I did.
Anya's Ghost is not only a spooky horror tale, but is a really heart-warming and hilarious novel. It is easy to relate to, and really, really clever. Not forgetting, it is over 200 pages long, but can be enjoyed even if you do not feel like a confident reader, and generally go for the shorter book. But the truth is, this book is worth the challenge. Me and my mother are still quoting little parts and laughing about them together.
A quick overview of the story:
Anya is a completely normal teenage girl, she's sure she looks fat in her shirt, she never says her surname because she's sure it's more embarrassing than everyone else's, and she envies that pretty girl, and her perfect boyfriend, who she quite fancies for herself....
But when she falls down a little hole in the forest, she finds a young ghost named Emily, who cannot leave her skeleton. Anya takes pity on her, and Emily ends up staying at her house. At first it seems like a great idea, she can help her with her homework, and she knows all about boys from her ninety years observation. But when Emily begins to change, Anya decides she needs to find out more about her mysterious past....
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Anya's Ghost Paperback – March 25, 2014
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Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn't kidding about the "forever" part . . . Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who's been dead for a century. Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya's normal life might actually be worse. She's embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she's pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend―even a ghost―is just what she needs. Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya's Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut graphic novel from author/artist Vera Brosgol. This title has Common Core connections. A 2011 Kirkus Best Teen Book of the Year A School Library Journal Best Fiction Book of 2011 A Horn Book Best Fiction Book of 2011 Winner of the 2012 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Young Adults (Ages 12-17)
- Print length 240 pages
- Language English
- Grade level 7 - 9
- Dimensions 5.53 x 0.59 x 8.23 inches
- Publisher Square Fish
- Publication date March 25, 2014
- ISBN-10 1250040019
- ISBN-13 978-1250040015
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“ Anya's Ghost is a masterpiece, of YA literature and of comics.” ― Neil Gaiman “Remarkable. . . . With an attitude and aptitude reminiscent of Marjane Satrapi ( Persepolis ) who likewise conveyed the particulars of an immigrant adolescence, Brosgol has created a smart, funny and compassionate portrait of someone who, for all her sulking and sneering, is the kind of daughter many parents would like to have. And the kind of girl many of us maybe once were.” ― The New York Times
About the Author
- Publisher : Square Fish (March 25, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250040019
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250040015
- Reading age : 9 - 13 years, from customers
- Grade level : 7 - 9
- Item Weight : 13.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.53 x 0.59 x 8.23 inches
- #265 in Teen & Young Adult Ghost Stories
- #1,350 in Teen & Young Adult Friendship Fiction
- #149,825 in Children's Books (Books)
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About the author
Vera Brosgol was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1984 and moved to the United States when she was five. Her first graphic novel, Anya's Ghost, was published in 2011 by First Second. Her picture book Leave Me Alone! was a 2017 Caldecott Honor book. She was a storyboard artist at Laika Inc. for ten years, working on films including Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and at last count has knit twenty-five sweaters.
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Anya's Ghost is a single-issue graphic novel by Vera Brosgol. It features Anya: an insecure, dowdy teenager, born of Russian immigrants, who finds herself struggling with the day-to-day trials of high school life, like her crush Sean and mouthy friend Siobhan. One day, she falls down an abandoned well and discovers the bones of a young girl who fell down there before her... As well as the ghost of said girl, still haunting the well she died in ninety years prior. The ghost, Emily, turns out to be pretty friendly, and the two eventually become good friends, as well as partners in crime. (Anya uses her invisible buddy to cheat on tests, keep watch while she's smoking and spy on classmates. ) Of course, these sort of things rarely end well, and soon Emily proves more of a problem than a friend.
A lovely story about friendship, selfishness and maturity. Try the artist's blog for more information.
- Arguably also Emily. Before she snaps .
- All Girls Want Bad Boys : Emily seems to think so.
- A picture of a girl in a bikini is visible on the inside of Sean's locker when Emily sneaks into it to look up his schedule for Anya.
- Preston tells Anya, "Your boobs look spectacular in that shirt" at Matt's party.
- Avoided with little churchboy Dima.
- Siobhan certainly thinks so.
- Alpha Bitch : Averted and deconstructed with Elizabeth. If you are familiar with high school tropes you'll think she'll be one, however she doesn't have the trademark meanness of an alpha bitch. Case in point, when Anya falls in gym she doesn't laugh at her and asks her if she is all right. It soon becomes obvious that Anya is the nasty one and she and the other girls are jealous of Elizabeth , for being pretty, athletic, intelligent, dating the hunky jock Sean, and being all around "prefect". However, when we get to the party we find out Sean likes to sleep around with other girls and Elizabeth knows about it. Not only does know she goes along with it. Why? She only feels good about herself if she and Sean are together and desperately wants to keep him in her life. All her positive traits mean very little to her and it only shows she probably has little to no self esteem. This also drives home the theme that everyone has problems.
- All of the Other Reindeer : The other kids picking on Dima. It's only seen for one panel, but it's enough to drive the message home.
- Annoying Younger Sibling : Sasha.
- She does show moral backbone when push comes to shove, though. She can't go through with having sex with Sean, out of pity for Elizabeth; apologizes to Siobhan when meeting up with her later; comforts Dima when he asks her how she manages to survive high school so well; and in the end stops lying about being Russian .
- Bastard Boyfriend : Sean turns out to be this when it's revealed that he makes out (possibly even sleeps) with other girls at parties for fun, even when Elizabeth knows about it.
- Bitch Alert : Alot of what Emily says when her real personality starts appearing, the biggest indicator probably being her overall expression when she says "See you, hun."
- Big Sister Instinct : Comes into play when Anya comforts Sasha after he's threatened by Emily.
- Coming of Age Story : For Anya
- Control Freak : "Highschool's pretty fun, but imagine how great college will be! Not that you'll be needing any more boy help pretty soon! How young do people get married nowadays? ...Well, we'll just have to find that out then, won't we?"
- Clingy Jealous Girl
- Cute Ghost Girl : She's more of a mousy, spindly kind of cute , but still distinctly adorable. Most of the time, anyway...
- Dead to Begin With
- Death by Falling Over : Emily died by falling down the well and breaking her neck.
- Deliberately Monochrome : The entire graphic novel is done in varying shades of black, white, and purple.
- Delinquent Hair : The boy who rescues Anya from the well has a mohawk.
- Disappeared Dad : Anya.
- Dream Sequence / Imagine Spot :
- Everyone Hates Mathematics : Siobhan refers to economics class as 'naptime'.
- Evil Counterpart / Not So Different - Emily is the evil counterpart to Anya. She starts out mellowed out pretty well after ninety years sitting in a well to think about what she's done, but when Anya teaches her her own high school lifestyle she reawakens the beast, and the beast turns out to possess exaggerated versions of all of Anya's negative traits: Emily is obsessive over boys (but unlike Anya, she is a Yandere ), sees existing girlfrends of 'mark' boys as not human individuals who deserve respect as such - but just competition (but unlike Anya, she is inclined to murder them), lies and manipulates (but not just about her last name, she lies about her entire past). The mirroring is even physical: she dons Anya's hairdo and starts smoking "ghost sigarettes", presumably a mimicing of Anya's bad habit. In the end, we even get an explicit You're Just Like Me speech from Emily - and Anya partially concedes the point, stating that she is enough like her to at least understand her.
- Expository Hairstyle Change : Emily learns to flatten her hair to create a more modern look.
- Face Heel Turn
- Fighting a Shadow : Anya's predicament once Emily turns on her.
- Foreign Cuss Word : "Oy...bleen...my leg!"
- Foreshadowing : The cover. At first glance it just looks like Anya with the Emily we're first introduced to, but look closer and you'll see Emily's hairstyle is different. It's the hairstyle she gets when she first begins to reveal her true self to Anya.
- Gender Blender Name : Sasha, Anya's little brother. Their family is Russian.
- Genre Savvy - Siobhan: "Sean from the basketball team? Dude, he's the kind of guy you're supposed to get a crush on in a bad teen movie".
- Ghostly Goals : Emily claims to be a type 1.
- Glowing Eyelights of Undeath
- Go Into the Light
- Gym Class Hell
- Hair Decorations : Siobhan wears two hair clips.
- Hollywood Pudgy : Invoked: Anya is of average weight, but diets stubbornly and sees herself as obese.
- I Am Not Pretty : Again, Anya. For a curvy, fresh-faced young girl, she's pretty convinced that she's unattractive.
- If I Can't Have You : Emily's decision after catching her crush with another girl.
- Jacob Marley Apparel : Emily explicitly expresses the wish to upgrade he turn-of-the-century jumper, but she's apparently stuck with it. Played with later as she learns to change her poofy hair into a more modern style, Foreshadowing her shift out of the 'innocent victim' persona.
- Kirk Summation / Shut UP, Hannibal : Anya's last argument with Emily.
- Love Makes You Crazy / Love Makes You Evil : Emily's excuse for burning a couple alive.
- Love Martyr : Elizabeth. See Alpha Bitch .
- MacGuffin : The finger bone.
- Manipulative Bitch : Emily's Evil All Along reveal.
- Messy Hair : Emily's is described as 'dandelion-like.'
- Nice Guy : Sean. Subverted at Matt's party.
- Noodle People
- Non-Human Sidekick
- One-Winged Angel : A mild form of this at the climax, when Emily hauls her bones up from the well in a last-ditch attempt to kill Anya. She looks like a ghostly silhouette with a tangible skeleton underneath.
- Ordinary High School Student : Anya, Siobhan and their classmates. Evidently, Emily wants very badly to be one.
- Panty Shot : Anya gets one when she trips and falls in the middle of a run in gym class.
- Product Placement : A boy throws a can of Crush soda down the well where Anya is trapped, which alerts her to call for help.
- Prophet Eyes : Emily.
- She Cleans Up Nicely : Emily convinces Anya to dress up and go to Sean's party. This is the result.
- Shown her work - Vera Brosgol knows how to investigate old newspapers using microfilm, and she will make damn sure you do too when you've read this. With four pages, and a diagram. (Oh, and by the way, Anya's right: it will hurt your eyes. Don't do this for too long wearing contacts).
- Anya has a Domo-kun plushie in her bedroom. It can be seen on pages 41 and 93.
- A girl who falls down a well and becomes a ghost. Sounds familiar . The reference is made pretty explicit when at the end, Emily claws her way up the well and crawls out of it, head slumped downwards .
- Self-Disposing Villain : A sad variation. After Anya talks Emily out of her stubborn rage, Emily's skeleton falls apart and she evaporates in order to 'move on'.
- Smoking Is Cool
- Soul Jar : Of a sort. Emily can't move very far from her skeleton, so Anya ends up carrying a bone from her little finger so they can move about together.
- Unfinished Business
- The Unpronounceable : Anya's last name is Borzakovskaya.
- Anya's got a funny way of showing it too.
- Who Dunnit to Me?
- Its revealed that Emily also played this trope straight. She burnt down the house of the boy she liked while he and his girlfriend, were inside. All because he rejected her feelings for him.
- You Can Barely Stand : Almost said word-for-word when Emily crawls out of the well, bones and all, to try and drag Anya down with her. Her obvious weakness and anguish make this scene a bit of a Tear Jerker .
- Zettai Ryouiki : In her school uniform, Anya's stockings are between Grade B and Grade A.
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- 2 Kuroinu Kedakaki Seijo wa Hakudaku ni Somaru/Characters
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Book Review – “Anya’s Ghost”
At first, I was expecting this to be a cutesy tween read where the lead character gets a specter for a best pal. And while some of that holds true, in the end Anya’s Ghost delivered a sucker punch I hadn’t been expecting, and it was this, combined with its heartfelt message about trying to fit in, that earned it a full five stars.
Art-wise, this graphic novel is a bit sparse in the color department but I think for this story, and its tone, it works. The general color scheme is black, white, and various shades of grey/purple. It’s easy on the eyes and it does cause you to focus more on the story than the surroundings. That being said, the character expressions here really won me over as they are cartoon-like enough to keep this from appearing too realistic, but they’re not so comically rendered that they lose their humanness. In some panels, especially ones without dialogue, the characters’ “acting” is genuinely convincing and you’re not left scratching your head as to what’s going on when nobody says anything. So kudos to that!
But what really sucked me in was the story. Anya is the daughter of a Russian immigrant and has fought hard to assimilate herself into American culture: she’s lost weight, dons trendy clothes, sneaks cigarettes, and avoids anything and anyone that/who might remind her of her homeland. At times, Anya can be unnecessarily cruel to her friends and family but that didn’t make me dislike her. While her harsh words aren’t excusable, Anya delivers a good balance between maturity and adolescent behavior that causes her to seem like a realistic teenager who is trying to figure life out – sometimes she gets it right, sometimes she gets it wrong but learns from it one way or the other.
Anya’s life changes when, after falling down a hole in a park, she encounters the ghost of a young lady named Emily. Emily follows Anya around because Anya keeps a bone fragment from Emily’s skeleton and serves as the little friend on her shoulder. She helps Anya do better in school (albeit it’s by cheating), enables her to pluck up the courage to talk to a boy she has a crush on, and gives advice. At first, Anya feels on top of the world and confidant, but this slowly takes a dark, sinister turn.
The surprises in this book are worth not being spoiled for, so I’ll refrain from sharing specifics (though the last several pages had me quickly turning, anxious to see how the plot would be resolved). I will say that I almost gave up about halfway in, thinking this was going to be another teen-centered coming-of-age story. But I was quite wrong. Yes, Anya’s Ghost contains hallmarks of a coming-of-age novel and, yes, the protagonist is a teen girl; but, at its core, it’s a ghost story. Not in the “boo-gotcha!” sort of tale but one that builds to a rather frightening premise that scares more on a psychological level as opposed to abject horror. Thus, the main “scare” is that we have to be careful as to the “voices” we listen to in life lest they lead us down some very dark paths.
In the end, Anya becomes smarter and more grateful for the people in her life. I especially enjoyed seeing her make amends with a fellow Russian student when he offers to help her with no strings attached. It’s a moment that could have been marred by a spoon-fed message about not trying to escape your past or avoiding people because they don’t match your ideal of “cool” or popular. Instead, it’s handled deftly through Anya’s actions.
And that’s a technique presented all throughout this graphic novel – a smart, deft hand. In a book geared for teens (with appeal to adults, I think), Anya’s Ghost never comes across as hackneyed or preachy. It addresses themes such as cultural appreciation and assimilation (and the pros and cons to both), peer pressure, moral choices, and dissecting the truth in ways that lack vagueness but are also devoid of soapbox moments. The moral of the book, in which a character tells Anya that she “may look normal like everyone else. But…not on the inside,” and then closes out with some dialogue-less panels, sums up this novel’s central theme (i.e. that it’s our choices that define us) in a way that lets the reader take it in rather than be bashed over the skull with inane platitudes.
Character-wise, this graphic novel possesses a fun, memorable cast. Aside from Anya, we have her Russian mother and her younger brother (who likes to bury Anya’s jewelry – gotta love that!). Both of these characters, while not given too much attention, create a dynamic environment for Anya to contend with. Thankfully, they manage to not become tropes as her mother avoids being the dumb parent figure and her brother avoids being the irritating younger sibling figure. Anya clearly loves them but struggles with her desire to assimilate into the culture around her yet she can’t entirely run away from her heritage. Other characters include Siobhan, Anya’s tomboyish school chum; Sean, Anya’s crush; and, of course, Emily.
Emily is the most mercurial character in the book and not because she’s a ghost. At first, she appears to be a sweet, charming, innocent girl, but that changes when she offers to “help” Anya. In a way, Emily is Anya’s doppelganger by inverting Anya’s character and demonstrating the traits she lacks, such as confidence and a willingness to bend the rules. Anya is flawed but not to this extreme; hence, Emily becomes an angel/devil on Anya’s shoulder, which generates the bulk of the story’s tension.
Overall, Anya’s Ghost surprised me with its moral subtly, fun cast, and interesting artwork. The story itself is truly engaging and I found myself glued to each page until the very end. Fans of graphic novels should definitely check this out as I think it has something for everyone, including a smart and well-played “scare” factor. This remains one of my top books of the year and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’m stingy with my stars but this was a solid five-star read for me!
Content: Language – Contains some mild profanities (generally spoken by Siobhan).
Violence – Nothing in terms of any blood or gore. While there is no violence, there are some tense, perilous moments and talk of a murder though nothing about the crime is shown. Emily the ghost can assume some frightening facial expressions, but it tracks more cartoony than overtly terrifying. Also, some of the teens, including Anya, harbor a bad attitude at times and treat others coldly though their behavior is never depicted in a way that presents it as positive.
Sexual Content – There are some mild innuendos tossed in sporadically. One of the boys at Anya’s school has a reputation for cheating (which he does so with a girl in a bathroom, but we’re never shown what he’s doing).
Substance Abuse – Some teenagers are shown smoking cigarettes, and it’s assumed these teens are under 18 as they sneak around to smoke rather than smoke out in the open.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Post a comment, it’s monday what are you reading 08/28/2023.
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop hosted by Kelle...
Review Time: Anya's Ghost (2011)
A review of vera brosgol's first comic book.
A friend of mine told me that he met Vera Brosgol at a convention a few years ago. Since he’s a poor and luckless boy, he approached her without the means of purchasing her Eisner and Harvey award-winning comic book, "Anya’s Ghost ." My friend had a bookmark with him, and he asked her to autograph it. Brosgol signed the bookmark with some mixture of confusion and snark. The memory brings shame to him every time I tell him to recount the sad tale. I went into "Anya’s Ghost" with my friend’s memory in mind.
"Anya’s Ghost" tells the story of Anya Borzakovskaya. She’s a high school truant that would rather smoke cigarettes and cut Economics than anything else. Playing hooky with her friend Siobhán allows Anya a moment of repose from her stressful life. She comes from a family of Russian immigrants, and she’s embarrassed by her roots. Her single mother is the typical stubborn Russian matriarch, and her younger brother is a bit of a brat. There’s no father in her life, which is not explained. Since Anya doesn’t attend class at her expensive private school, her grades are crummy. She doesn’t have any friends except Siobhán and she’s insecure about her body. On top of all that, she has a crush on one of the most popular guys in school—who’s already in a relationship with the prettiest girl in school.
After an argument with Siobhán one day, Anya storms off into a park away from campus. Distracted by her problems, she stumbles down a dry well where she meets Emily. Emily is a ghost; she died in 1918, and her skeleton’s lain at the bottom of the well undiscovered since then. Anya spends three days in the well with Emily until she’s rescued, but she finds out Emily’s followed her home. It turns out Emily’s spirit is attached to her bones, and a piece of her fell into Anya’s backpack while she was in the well. The two form a symbiotic relationship where Anya shows Emily what life is like since she died, and Emily helps Anya by giving her answers to school tests and spying on the boy she has a crush on. Anya discovers having a ghost as a new best friend is great; that is, until she finds out the truth about how Emily died.
At the heart of the story is Anya herself. She’s one of the most fully realized characters I’ve come across in a one-shot comic in a long time. There’s very little time to get to know her before the story begins, but her thorny attitude and her insecurities quickly humanize her. Perhaps it’s the snarky personality I pictured Vera Brosgol having based off of my friend’s anecdote that drew me so quickly to Anya or maybe it’s sympathy for her Russian roots since my girlfriend’s family hails from the Soviet Union. Five minutes of research after finishing the book led me to the conclusion that Anya might be an author surrogate because Brosgol is a Russian immigrant herself.
In composition, "Anya’s Ghost" is strictly structured. The pages are paneled one after another and flow well. There’s no bleeding into the gutters except for a few dialogue bubbles that break through panel frames. Some people find this structure boring because they prefer splash panels that speed up the action of the story, but I think Brosgol succeeds with her conservative pages instead of trying anything too exciting. The action is paced well within the panels without them exploding and risk confusing the reader.
"Anya’s Ghost" is a quick read and it’s a pretty good read. While the relationship between Anya and Emily is interesting, I wasn’t impressed with the twist at the end of the second act; however, that didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the book. I was actually more interested in Anya’s life as a Russian immigrant trying to be cool and rebellious in an American private school, but I could read Persepolis again if I wanted a similar story. The characters that surround Anya and Emily are fleshed out, but they’re pushed to the wayside by the ghost story. "Anya’s Ghost" would have benefited if it had been a longer book, but the main plot is too thin to spread over more than one volume. Overall, Brosgol deserves the praise and rewards she’s gained from her first comic. I eagerly await more work from her.
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Why i don't have an iphone, or any smartphone, for that matter.
I am 21 years old, and I do not have a smartphone. While my peers have gone through countless phones, upgrading the moment Apple or Samsung releases a new model, I have only owned three phones. I’ve used my current phone, a Samsung Intensity III (a slide phone with a keyboard), for about two years.
Throughout high school and college, friends have asked me, “When are you going to upgrade your phone?” To be honest, I don’t know, and I don’t care . When I bought my current phone, I had the option to choose a smartphone and turned it down. At the Verizon store, I had hoped to find the same phone I’d already been using (I didn’t want to learn how to use a new one) when my dad mentioned that I could get a smartphone — but only if I paid for the data plan.
So, I’ll say it: I’m a college student. That phrase is usually synonymous with “I’m broke.” While that isn’t necessarily true, being a college student to me means that I’m at a stage in my life when I should start saving money. Eventually, I’ll go to grad school, pay rent, and shop for my own groceries. Saving now can really help later.
While phone shopping, I weighed the costs and benefits: Buying a smartphone meant that, on top of the usual texting and calling plan, I would have Wi-Fi and Internet access. Though that is well and good, I had a functional laptop I could use for the Internet. If I didn’t really need the Internet, was the price worth it? My data plan would have been about $30 a month — so about $360 a year. That’s a nice chunk of change to still have in my pocket. Prices may have changed since then, but for my family , our four-person phone plan costs more a month than our heating bill. I’d rather be warm than have data.
Money aside, I have more personal reasons for not upgrading. It drives me up the wall when I hang out with my friends and they spend most of that time texting, Snapchatting, playing games, or scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. If they have such harsh separation anxiety with their boyfriends and can’t say, “Hanging out with friends — I’ll talk to you later,” then their time is probably better spent with their boyfriends than with me. Do they text their friends that much while with their boyfriends? No. What happened to sisters before misters?
People joke about how a dozen people can sit together at a restaurant and all be on their phones, but that’s a real problem. I have suffered more than a few awkward lunch breaks at work, sitting at a table and holding my sandwich with two hands while my coworkers double-task — one hand picking at their fries as the other scrolls through social media. The silence is only broken when a frustrated employee joins the table with a new horror story.
The real horror story is the reaction people have to their phones. In Lucie Fink’s YouTube video “ 5 Days Without a Cell Phone ,” several people say how they would feel if they didn’t have a phone. Most said they would physically fight another person. One girl actually said, “Why talk to people in real life when you can just talk to them on your phone?” What? Compared to Lucie’s positive outlook on losing her phone, those people’s comments seemed that much more profound. Similarly, I applauded Prince Ea’s video “ Can We Auto-Correct Humanity? ” He preached exactly what I think: People are so busy trying to connect to others virtually that they begin to lose their real relationships.
I don’t have a smartphone, because I don’t want to become another one of these media-crazed people. Not that I will never get a smartphone — when I graduate and find a job, I understand that I will need the constant Internet access to keep track of work matters. For now, while I still have the luxury of free time with friends over winter and spring breaks, I’m going to spend them actually talking to people face to face. A phone won’t define me — I will.
High School Came So Easy to Me. Why Is College So Hard?
For the student who used to get straight a's in high school without even trying.
In high school , I felt like I didn’t need to study to get good grades. But in reality, I tried so hard in high school. I never skipped class, I never took a zero on an assignment and I paid attention in class. So yeah, when it came test time, I barely needed to study.
This is why college is a slap in the face to a large amount of straight A-high-school students. In high school a person has complete structure and responsibility. Yes, college students have this too, but it is more lenient.
Below are my top 5 reasons why college is challenging for recent high school graduates:
College students have too much freedom
College students have freedom, which is a responsibility in itself.
In college, if you don’t feel like going to class — you can just skip. No one will call your mom. You won’t have to sit out of the soccer game you have after school (this was a rule at my high school – if you have an unexcused absence for school you cannot participate in sporting events that day).
College courses are harder
In college, the course work is harder, you don’t have a mandatory study hall period every day to do homework and study. You also have more free time to spend with your friends or to spend on your hobbies.
In high school, my schedule was so packed with extra circular activities, I didn’t have time for leisurely things like Netflix . Having more free time allows college students to procrastinate. Also, you want to hang out with your new dorm friends.
More homework in high school than in college
If you think about it, you probably had a lot more homework in high school than you do in college. I know I did. In college, a professor does not want to grade hundreds of written assignments every day.
Most college homework is to read a unit for a possible pop-quiz, but let’s be honest. We are going to skim it even if we read it at all. Most of the course points in college are from midterm and final exams.
Phone is more of a distraction in college than high school
When you do go to a college class, no one cares if you sit there on your phone the whole time. In high school, I left my phone in my backpack during class, and didn’t even really think about it.
In a typical large college lecture you can see several people on their laptops watching Netflix during class. You can tell a lot of students are there only for attendance points. I’m guilty of zoning out during a boring lecture to play Candy Crush countless times.
Denial and procrastination
Many of these straight-A-in-high-school students play it off as no big deal because, “I’m smart. I always get good grades. It will be fine.” But then it is finals week ...
College is all fun and games until you realize you have to learn a whole semester's worth of course work in a week.
The ABC's Of Israel
A listicle that gives just a little insight into beloved things in israel., a is for aroma, b is for bamba.
And you thought Cheese puffs were the best of the best, meet the snack champ.
C is for Challah
D is for dead sea.
Everyone says they float. You see pictures of people floating. But trust me, you won't believe it until you're there, floating!!!
E is for Eilat
With it's boardwalk and boat rides, Eilat is a magical city in Israel unlike any other.
F is for Falafel
G is for golan heights, h is for hebrew.
Even if you go to Israel and can't speak a word of it, you'll pick up on a handful of common sayings and words while you're there. In just a few days you'll be saying "toda" (thank you) and "s'leecha" (excuse me) like you've been living there your whole life!
I is for IDF
The Israeli Defense Force. The army of soldiers that protects and serves Israel with love and dedication every day. Anywhere you go in Israel, you'll see soldiers. Not only are they strong and brave, but they are also kind and friendly. Israel's mandatory draft brings 18 year olds into the army for two to three years, depending on gender. These people are wise beyond their years, and just talking to them is an experience you'll never regret or forget.
J is for Jerusalem
K is for kehillat-kadoshah.
Jewish Community, something that is filled with love and pride.
L is for Love
M is for masada, n is for negev desert.
Spend a night in the Beduin Tents in the Negev desert. Never in your life will you see a sky with more shooting stars or a more beautiful sunrise.
O is for Old City
In Jerusalem, Old City is the home of the holiest cites of the Jewish people.
P is for Pop Rock Chocolate
Q is for quality.
Everything, from the food to the people, the owners of shops in markets and tour guides, everything about the country is top notch!!
R is for Red Sea
Right between Israel and Jordan, the Red Sea is absolutely beautiful (and very fun to go snorkeling in!)
S is for Shuk
T is for tzfat.
Looking for an opal hamsa necklace? Bracelet? Earrings? This is your spot!
U is for Unleavened Bread
V is for vivacious.
Nowhere else in the world will you find a country with as much pep in their step as you will find in Israel.
W is for Western Wall
X is for excitement.
Because what's more exciting than being in Israel?! The place of your people, this country is simply amazing.
Y is for Yad Vashem
There aren't words to explain what it's like walking through this museum. Unlike any other museum dedicated to the memorial and remembrance of the holocaust, this museum literally walks you through the horrors and suffering of those in the holocaust.
Z is for Zikaron
As in Yom Zikaron, Israeli Memorial Day. Parties and parades in the street, Israeli flags draped over balconies and shoulders, it's a celebration unlike any other.
19 Things You Can Do When You Turn 19 Years Old
You can tell an 18 year-old what it was like to be their age..
As I write this, I am 18 years-old. By the time this is published, I will be 19. Wow, crazy, right? This fact caused two thoughts two pop into my typically-empty noggin:
1) God , I am oooolllllddddd !!!!!
2) There's nothing cool about turning 19.
However, after some research, I found that I was wrong about one of those things. Yeah, you're officially a legal adult when you turn 18, and when you turn 20, it's like, "Hey, I'm in my 20s now, how 'bout that?" but turning 19 has its merits, too!!
Here are 19 SICK things that happen when you turn 19.
1) You can legally drink...in Canada!
While some places in Canada allow 18 year-olds to drink, the majority of the country cuts it off at 19. So if you want to go wild--legally and safely, of course--get your passport and go North.
2) You can drive and talk on the phone in Illinois.
3) you can smoke cigarettes in new jersey..
You will get lung cancer, but at least it's legal.
4) You can legally gamble in Alabama and Nebraska.
You can win big bucks playing Blackjack and then blow the prize money on all of exciting things Alabama and Nebraska have to offer (sweet tea and corn as far as the eye can see).
5) You have one last year to use being a teenager as an excuse for everything.
You break your mom's favorite vase? Don't sweat it. You have this one last year to say, "So sowwy, I'm just a silly teen, I didn't mean to do it!". Works every time.
6) You are no longer 18.
One year older and wiser, that's gotta be true, right? Exciting stuff.
7) You can legally use magic outside of Hogwarts.
This one goes out to all my wizards and witches out there! Have fun and be safe.
8) You have one last year to enjoy your youth.
Once the twenties come around, you have to do crazy things like think about your future and all that. I mean, you could do that now, but wouldn't you rather just enjoy this last year of being considered a young'n by general society?
9) Your age uses the number nine.
Nine is a very cool and mysterious number. I mean, you turn it upside down and, woah, I thought I was looking at a nine, but it's really a six? Mind blown! The number nine is a nonstop party.
10) In Virginia, you can get your own health insurance plan.
This is all most of us have ever dreamed about: the thrilling day when we walk into Geico and say, "Bring out the talking gecko, I'm buying myself insurance today!"
11) You can have a 19th birthday party.
This will be your only chance to have a 19th birthday party for yourself; book those Chuck E Cheese reservations before it's too late!
12) You can nostalgically look back on the good ol' days when you were 18.
"Remember when I was a freshman in college at the beginning of the year when I was 18, and now I'm still a freshman in college but I'm 19? So crazy, am I right?"
13) You can be the oldest one in your high school without being the creepy old guy.
Were you held back? Missed too many classes for medical reasons and had to repeat a year? Now you're 19 and the oldest in your high school, but don't worry. You're still a teenager, so it's fine. Once you hit your 20s when still in high school, though, then you're the creepy old dude who just needs to go.
14) You can tell an 18 year-old what it was like to be their age.
"When I was your age, back in the good ol' days last week, kiddos actually went outside and spoke to each other! Sigh , you'll understand once you're 19, kid. I've seen things!"
15) You can assert dominance over anyone younger than you.
"I'm older, so I'm better!" is my go-to argument when confronting my younger brother, who is ironically smarter and more talented than me in almost every way. It's at least comforting to tell yourself, so give it a try.
16) You know that you have the ability to count to 19.
Yay, one number better than last year! You're a math genius!
17) When people ask you your age, if you say 19, you are now telling the truth.
When you were 18, did you tell someone you were 19, and then feel burdened by horrible guilt for your nasty little fib? Now when you say that you're 19, you'll mean it, and you will never be accused of being a liar, until you turn 20, when you will have to say that you are 20 years-old, not 19.
18) You have a higher chance of going first in certain board games.
The rules of some board games dictate that the oldest player goes first. Well lucky you, now you have a higher chance of going first in Monopoly or Jenga! or something, so it really doesn't get much better than that.
19) Not much has changed.
If you loved being 18, then congrats, 19 isn't really gonna be that much different. If you hate change, then this is a great year for you, because you will probably stay exactly the same both physically and emotionally. NOICE!
Wow, how fun was that?! As you can see, there are countless amazing reasons why 19 is such an awesome age. For anyone who is feeling bummed about being or turning 19, I hope that this article convinced you of age 19's greatness, and that you have a good time trying out some of the things on this list!
The Ring Of Fire
Where do i go from here.
Every day is a battle.
I feel like I'm slipping further and further away from my faith, my morals, and my values.
I've fallen into a trap and lately I just don't know if there's even a way to escape.
It's so hard living with depression . One day you feel decent and the slightest thing happens and it's like the world is crashing down around you and you're just sitting there watching it all happen.
I have triggers and to avoid them, is nearly impossible.
I wish I was stronger. I wish my mind wasn't weak and that I was more secure with myself.
I wish that God could give me purpose again. It started May 22, 2015. The day of my grandmother's death. Up until that morning I had been going to bed every night saying a prayer to God to just perform some miracle on this beautiful and strong Christian woman to keep her around a little longer. I had wasted so many opportunities to open my heart to her. About my anger towards God for doing this to her.
She was my rock, my confidante, my best friend , vocal coach, therapist, and spiritual counselor. She always believed in me, and the things that I could accomplish despite any odds that may be placed against me. Losing someone like that hurts deeply. It's like a light that was once inside of you is burnt out and you start to feel hopeless and unsure of yourself. When she was here I knew where I was going, I had a purpose and it was all because she was guiding me and instilling so much confidence in me as a person. I spent many nights after her funeral waking up with anxiety attacks or no sleep at all because I couldn't stop crying or agonizingly missing her smell or her hugs.
Here I am over a year later and I do not feel closure or comfort or even a smidge of understanding.
I just feel numb. I knew if she was here, she'd beat me for letting myself get so far deep into a state depression over her passing.
I find myself being more and more dependent on people. More and more afraid of loss and fearing that I'll never be truly loved and not because I don't have others in my life that love me unconditionally, but because I no longer have someone that I knew no matter what i might've done or said she would be there with her arms wide open. I've let myself go in ways that I never imagined I would. I am ashamed and humiliated with myself because I never completed the healing process when I know that's something she wants of me.
I simply put it off because it was easier to ignore the pain than to overcome it. Worst of all, I feel hopeless because no matter how many times I talk about it I simply hear the same thing over and over. "What would she want you to do?" "Would she want you to sit around and mope?"
Yeah duh, I know that, but it does not bring mean any closure. It does not make me feel better, it does not bring me any closer to healing.
It's just a constant ring of fire . I cry, I get angry, I get numb.
And I've been numb for way too long. I want to make her proud but I know I'm only failing her.
Which as you guessed, spirals me into another depression.
Going into her house now, is like a metaphor for how I feel inside; empty. I only pray that there will be a day I will feel okay and that not all will be lost when that happens.
Songs About Being 17 Grey's Anatomy Quotes Vine Quotes 4 Leaf Clover Self Respect
1. Brittany Morgan, National Writer's Society 2. Radhi, SUNY Stony Brook 3. Kristen Haddox , Penn State University 4. Jennifer Kustanovich , SUNY Stony Brook 5. Clare Regelbrugge , University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
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Anya's Ghost Summary and Analysis
FreeBookNotes found 7 sites with book summaries or analysis of Anya's Ghost . If there is a Anya's Ghost SparkNotes, Shmoop guide, or Cliff Notes, you can find a link to each study guide below.
Among the summaries and analysis available for Anya's Ghost , there are 2 Short Summaries and 5 Book Reviews.
Depending on the study guide provider (SparkNotes, Shmoop, etc.), the resources below will generally offer Anya's Ghost chapter summaries, quotes, and analysis of themes, characters, and symbols.
By vera brosgol, full book notes and study guides.
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Estimated Read Time : 1 minute
Word Count: 424
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Word Count: 630
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Word Count: 850
Anil's Ghost Characters
By michael ondaatje, anil's ghost character list.
These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. We are thankful for their contributions and encourage you to make your own.
Written by people who wish to remain anonymous
The titular protagonist of Anil's Ghost , Anil is a Sri Lanken woman who left her native country to become a forensic pathologist in the United Kingdom and eventually the United States. She returns to Sri Lanka with her newly learned skills as part of a Human Rights Investigation along with a group of people. During her investigation, she finds a strange, unidentified skeleton which leads her to attempt to advocate and bring justice to all the nameless victims of the civil war currently taking place in Sri Lanka.
Sarath is an archaeologist who is working alongside Anil in the Human Rights Investigation in Sri Lanka. She and Anil find the skeleton of a recently deceased (and as they find out- murdered) man in an ancient burial ground, and subsequently begin investigating further into the unreported deaths of the civil war.
Gamini is Sarath's brother, an emergency doctor working in Sri Lanka who struggles valiantly every day to attempt and save the countless victims of war in the land. He works in the small village of Galapitigama.
Ananda is a clay sculptor in Sri Lanka whom Anil and Sarath ask for help to possibly reconstruct the face of the deceased man they found in the burial ground. Ananda attempts to commit suicide after he finishes it, to their shock.
"Sailor" is the nickname Anil and Sarath give to the skeleton of the deceased man they find in the burial ground. Throughout the novel, strange things happen to people around Sailor, and Anil believes there is something more to the dead man.
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Anil’s Ghost Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Anil’s Ghost is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Study Guide for Anil’s Ghost
Anil's Ghost study guide contains a biography of Michael Ondaatje, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
- About Anil's Ghost
- Anil's Ghost Summary
- Character List
Essays for Anil’s Ghost
Anil's Ghost essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje.
- Spirituality in Anhil's Ghost
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- Main characters
- Structure and strategies
- Setting and historical context