Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Review: Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Reviewed by Liesl

Published: 2011

It's about: (Stolen from the jacket cover) Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend wasn't 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 dead one - is just what she needs. But Anya's new B.F.F. isn't kidding about the "forever" part...

I thought: Being a lover of all things comics and graphic novels, I've decided it's my sole duty to tell the rest of the world about it. Anya's Ghost, written and drawn by Vera Brosgol, is an entertaining book with minimal creepiness.

Something I love about this book is the character design. Having read a lot of comics all my life, I've ached for more variety in characters and their looks. Sometimes I have trouble identifying which characters are which because they all look the same. Brosgol succeeds here in creating characters that all look distinctly different with varying features. Some characters are dorkily endearing, and Anya's little brother has the most adorable Disney eyes I've ever seen.

Brosgol also creates excellent scenes. On her blog, she details the comic-making process (which you can read here) and says that she wants to show rather than tell, and it works. When illustrating Anya's character, she adds details such as the types of posters Anya has up in her room and the music she listens to, and it's not just limited to Anya, but to other characters. I love the pictures because it's perfect for my attention span and I'm able to notice things about characters I never would have noticed if it was written in novel format. The beauty of comics is how you can combine art with words and play around with them to really convey your message. Those were the parts where the novel really shined.

Some of the story elements felt a little cliche, like a girl trying so hard to fit in and what happens when a geeky girl brands herself into the conventional norm, but Brosgol is able to bring Anya to life and all the other characters are refreshing. Anya's Ghost is definitely worth a read.

Verdict: Stick it on the shelf.

Reading Recommendations:While this book is probably targeted more for teenagers, that never stopped me. In fact, most of the books I review on here are targeted for teenagers.

Warnings: Some swearing and questionable situations. Also, slightly scary at some parts?

Favorite excerpts:

What I'm reading next: The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse