It is nice to see a complimentary blurb from Neil Gaiman on the cover of ANYA'S GHOST by Vera Brosgol (First Second Books 2011), but the cover alone will draw readers into this graphic novel about Anya, a student who wants to be popular. One day, she accidentally falls down a well where she encounters a ghost of a teen about her age. The ghost tells Anya about running to escape from a man who murdered her parents and ending up falling into the well and dying of a broken neck. Anya is rescued unaware that the ghost has hidden one of her bones. This will allow the ghost to leave the well and live with Anya. At first, this seems to be a blessing as the ghost helps Anya at school. However, events turn dark as Anya begins to realize the truth about her ghost. <20>
Illustrations in varying combinations of black and white and gray are perfect to convey the mood and tone of this fast paced novel. The book deals with the difficulty of finding and keeping friends, of peer pressure, of family life and of self image and self esteem. All of this is conveyed simply through the story. Thanks to Simon Broughton and Lauren Wohl for putting this one in our goodie bag at the dinner they hosted at ALA in San Diego!