Saturday, September 17, 2011
Review: Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol (Graphic Novel)
Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol is a graphic novel that has garnered five starred reviews from professional reviewers this year. Wow. That just about never happens. Just to give you a comparison, Ship Breaker, the 2011 Michael Printz Award book got only three starred reviews and it was picked as the best of the best in YA lit last year.
What is so special about this little graphic novel? The storyline combines two stories. First is the story of a young Russian-American girl who has difficulties as she tries to negotiate through her life in high school and at home. She tries to deny her heritage in an attempt to fit in but that always seems to backfire on her. The second story involves a ghost that Anya encounters when she falls into an abandoned (dry) well and then inadvertently brings home with her when she is rescued. The ghost, Emily, lures Anya into doing things she wouldn't normally do and plays on Anya's emotions by telling her stories of her life before she was "murdered." As Anya unravels the mystery of Emily's death, she finds her way back to her own roots.
Did I like the book? Yes and no. I liked the story and got caught up in the mystery and the haunting by ghost Emily. I actually found myself wanting to get back to the story when I had to set it down to do something else. No, because Anya wasn't particularly likable. She came across as surly and thoughtless for most of the book. The book contained odd jumps in sequencing of the story. I thought mine was a defective copy that left out a page. The author couldn't possibly have intended some of the big jumps between scenes.
It will be very interesting to see what the award committees do with this book. With five starred reviews I doubt that they will be able to ignore it. But which side will win out in their considerations? The compelling storyline or the deficiencies in execution?
Have any of you read any graphic novels this year that you think are noteworthy?