I first heard about this graphic novel when Carl reviewed it back in June. I was immediately intrigued, and even before I knew it was released by First Second (whose output I’ve always been impressed by) it was one that was always going to appear on my bookshelves!.
Anya is a teenage girl, trying desperately to fit in, in high school, embarrassed by her Russian heritage, and despite her efforts doesn’t really manage that either.
When, she’s on her way home one day, she ends up falling down an old abandoned well. When she comes to, she discovers she’s also not the first to do so, because at the bottom of the well is a skeleton. And a ghost.
Turns out the bones are the remains of Emily, a girl from 1918, who when she fell down the well, was never found, and can not move far from her remains.
Emily starts to ‘befriend’, Anya, convincing her that she is just the friend she needs, and when Anya is rescued, she takes one of Emily’s bones with her, so she can escape her prison and ‘help’ Anya.
As a reader, we can of course see ahead a few steps, and realise there is more to Emily’s assistance and her wish to live vicariously through Anya. And indeed soon starts to tighten her grip over her ‘friend’. When Anya realises what is happening, Emily becomes a truly frightening individual, and Anya will need to use every bit of her tenacity to escape her clutches.
Though all this the novel also touches on worries about self-image, finding your place in the world, what you should really look for in a friend, and well, growing up really.
It’s really nicely written, and the artwork perfectly complements the story, and very effective in conveying the mood of each panel.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t blown away by Anya’s Ghost, but I was very, very impressed.
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