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- Publisher: First Second
- Publication date: 6/7/2011
- Pages: 224
Anya Borzakovskaya is one frustrated, grouchy teenager. She's embarrassed by her Russian-émigré mom; her little brother drives her bats; she doesn't fit in at school; she can't get the boy she likes to notice her; and her only weapons are her sharp tongue and perpetual sneer. Then she falls down a well and makes a friend: the very lonely ghost of a girl named Emily, who died there a hundred years before and can't leave her bones. Anya's the only one who can see Emily, of course, but Emily's excited enough to be out in the world again (via a tiny bone Anya carries around with her) that she offers to help her new pal out in all sorts of poltergeisty ways; Anya, in return, resolves to try to solve the mystery of Emily's murder. Brosgol's debut graphic novel—taut, witty, and breezily paced—seems to be heading in a very familiar direction, and then, abruptly, veers off toward a completely different and much more clever third act. Brosgol's two-toned purple-and-black images have a bold, cartoony flair, underscoring her knack for comic timing and pacing, and making nearly every stance and facial expression her characters adopt at least a little bit funny.
This is my first time reviewing a graphic novel. This was a fun quick read. Anya feels like an outsider and has done everything she can to try to fit in, but no matter what she still doesn't. That is until she falls down a well and meets the ghost of Emily. At first she wants to put Emily back in the well, but then she feels a little bad, and realizes that she is helpful. Emily helps Anya to fit in a little better and things seem great, but then something that Anya discovers changes everything.
This was a great story that talks about real life insecurities that a lot of people go through. Not fitting in, feeling like you are overweight, having a crush on a boy who you think will never give you a second glace, friendship, and overcoming your fears. The illustrations just make this book so much better. I love how it has a little bit of purple to the black and white also. It really lends to the little bit of creepiness in the story.
I think this is a great story for teens and adults. It's fun, creepy, and yes, does help to teach you a good life lesson. The illustrations really keep you absorbed in the book. If you are looking for a fast entertaining read, then you will enjoy this book. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.