Friday, December 21, 2012

REVIEW: Anya's Ghost

Brosgol, V.  (2011).  Anya's Ghost.  New York:  First Second.

221 pages.

Appetizer:  Anya isn't exactly excited about the way her life has been going.  Yes, she's managed to lose some weight and her accent after years of ESL classes, but she still has to contend with avoiding her mother's cooking, attending church, and a nerdy boy named Dima, who has also immigrated from Russia.  With only one friend at her school, and not the best of grades in most of her classes, Anya would like a change.

When Anya skips school and goes to a park, she falls down an old unused well.  At the bottom, she finds the skeleton of a girl, a girl whose ghost is still very much present and set on following Anya back into the world.  While, Anya discovers that there are some perks to having a specter for a friend when it comes to test scores and getting the attention of a certain guy, she also learns that there might be more to her new friend then what she initially presents.

I hadn't quite known what to expect from Anya's Ghost.  I'd heard the YA graphic novel described as a good multicultural read.  While there are a few scenes and themes that do explore the tension between assimilation and maintaining one's culture or identity and the immigrant experience, I'd say this book is first and foremost a ghost story with a bit of mystery to it.

I enjoyed this graphic novel.  It reminded me of Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, infused with a little bit of American Born Chinese.  I did feel like the ending was a little rushed.  The message presented to resolve some of the conflict felt forced and like it didn't quite match the themes and content.  But that just means that, in the classroom, I could recommend students write their own endings for the book in a round of one of my favorite activities, "Beat the Author."

Dinner Conversation:

Tasty Rating:  !!!

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