Tired of the YA rush? Fault in Our Stars just faulty? Divergent too much of the same old crumbling dystopian nation saved by a spunky protagonist? Why not take a step back from the glorious and the glorified, and bring yourself “down to earth” with a refreshingly quick, solid read about a paranormal experience.
Sounds too good to be true to have something so fantastical actually be charming, candid, and incredibly easy to relate to? Just wait until you give Anya’s Ghost a try.
Anya’s Ghost is a YA graphic novel that has a pretty happy home amongst the Twilight’s and Cinder‘s that decorate YA book shelves. It follows the misadventures of one Anya Borzakovskaya–a first-gen immigrant high school student from Russia–who has her world turned upside down when she unwittingly brings home a ghost companion. Unsure whether to treat this new ghost as friend or foe, Anya must decide whether it’s time to exorcise this pest or try to live with her new spectral companion — all while balancing the usual angst of being a teenager. You know: boys, failing at sports, failing at class, etc. etc.–but now with a ghost on her shoulder who happily has some opinions about the American teenage experience.
This seemingly tried and true plot-line is actually a breath of fresh air for YA. Besides the gorgeous graphic novel aspect, author and artist Vera Brosgol has a solid story on hand. Oh and, by the by, you may know Vera Brosgol as the storyboard artist from such classic works as Coraline and ParaNorman–so she definitely knows her way around visual and in crafting amazing characters. Her Anya is not the typical YA heroine, shrugging off the makings of a “great” hero and instead capturing all the mixed emotions and baggage that come with being a teenager. Watch out for Brosgol’s amazing use of color and expression to make up for the words that are not said and for the body language cues that speak to the teenage experience.
Anya’s Ghost is beautiful, smart, with a tinge of dark humor, and a solid narrative that provides enough teenage angst and paranormal scares to keep readers pleasantly entertained. Oh and, by the by, it won an Eisner Award, so that’s yet another plus in giving Anya’s Ghost a much needed shot.