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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
41
Anya's Ghost
Format: Paperback|Change


on 8 December 2017
Purchased as a gift, it came wrapped in plastic so unable to look inside myself but it was well received by my sister who is a keen fan of graphic novels and manga.
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on 18 September 2017
The illustrations are simple, yet utterly captivating, and the finish on the physical book itself is an absolute delight. Fantastic.
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on 28 March 2013
This is a brilliant book. My daughter loved it, and so did I! Contains a few 'adult' themes so I'd say 13+
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 June 2011
This is a great graphic novel for young teens -- especially girls -- with a well-paced story and plenty to say about social anxiety, body image, friendship, and ghostbusting. Anya is a 9th or 10th-grader at a lower-tier private school (not unlike the one I went to), who is embarrassed by her immigrant past. Her family came to the US from Russia when she was five, and she has worked very hard to lose any accent, eat American foods (while not becoming plump), dress properly, and generally fit in as an American teen. However, the signs of her angst are literally postered all over her bedroom: Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Neko Case, The Shins, Metric, etc. -- all perfectly good bands, but indicative of an underlying wistfulness. (Had she been of my generation, there surely would have been at least one Smiths and one Cure poster.)

One afternoon, she falls down a hole in the park and makes the acquaintance of a ghost from 1918 named Emily. She's been hovering over her skeleton for years, mourning the death of her fiancee in WWI, and herself at the hands of a murderer. One of Emily's bones gets into Anya's bag by accident, and when she'd rescued, Emily is able to hitch a ride to the surface. Before too long Anya and she become friends, with Anya spilling her insecurities to her new gal-pal ghost as Emily tries to help her succeed at school, fashion, and with the boy she has a crush on. Of course, as anyone who's watched a teen makeover comedy knows, there's always danger when the geeky girl tries to rebrand herself according to the conventional norms.

The final third of the book takes a rather menacing turn as Anya starts to realize that even the shiny popular kids have issues lurking just below the surface. This is all kind of John Hughes 101 type stuff (there's even a subplot involving a nerdy Russian kid whom Anya shuns but then has to turn to for help), but it's well done and the high contrast artwork brings it to life in a way that's neither too cartoony nor too realistic. Based on the brief author bio on the back, it sounds like many of the themes are autobiographical, as are many aspects of Anya's personality -- which is probably why it feels so dead on. Great stuff for girls in the 10-14 range or thereabouts, and still fairly entertaining for others.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 January 2015
Big surprise: "Anya's Ghost" is about a ghost. And a girl named Anya.

But Vera Nosgol's simple yet entrancing graphic novel is definitely a lot more than that, as it shows a young girl discovering the difference between what she thinks she wants and what she really does want. And her journey is intertwined with wry humor, the uglier layers of high school, and a ghost story that takes a very sinister, dark turn in the last third.

Anya is a fairly typical teen girl -- embarrassed by her very Russian family, unhappy with her curvy body, and enamored of the handsomest, most popular boy at school. On her way home, Anya accidentally falls down an old well. At the bottom, she discovers a ghost named Emily who died there ninety years ago -- and when Anya gets out, she accidentally brings Emily's finger bone with her, allowing the ghost to roam with her.

And at first, Emily makes everything better -- she sympathizes with Anya's woes, helps her on tests, and even helps her interact with her crush. But at a wild party, Anya discovers that the "perfect" teenagers don't quite have the perfect lives she thought. And after a bit of research into Emily's death, Anya realizes that her new friend has a horrifying dark side -- and unless Anya does what she wants, she's going to target Anya's family.

At first, "Anya's Ghost" feels like a 1980s John Hughes coming-of-age movie, only with the added twist of a ghostly companion. There's a lot of angst, crushes, school woes, and a teenage heroine who has to discover what is really important for her in life. And at first, it seems that this is a light little tale about a girl and her ghostly BFF. But everything takes a dark, spinechilling turn later in the story, especially since Emily suddenly develops a creepy, Single White Female-ish fixation on Anya's love life.

And Nosgol's stark, thick-lined artwork really enhances all the emotions the characters feel. The climax is absolutely, um, spinechilling, without any excessive flourishes. And the scene where Anya has an honest talk with the class outcast is touching without being maudlin.

And Anya herself is a startlingly realistic depiction of a teenage girl -- she's embarrassed by her odd family, tries desperately to fit in, and is uncomfortable with her curvy body. But before long, we see hints that her disaffected, sarcastic persona is just a shell, and that the real Anya is a much more reliable, goodhearted person. Emily is the flipside: she seems sweet, gentle and earnest at first, but grows increasingly creepy.

"Anya's Ghost" is one half ghost story, one half high-school/coming-of-age tale. And it's a superb, eerie story right to the end.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 28 January 2015
While Neil Gaiman's "YA masterpiece" blurb initially struck me as a bit over the top this book has a lot to recommend it. Not least is the fashion in which it starts as a fairly predictable teen angst morality tale and then morphs into something a little darker and more absorbing.

Our heroine, Anya, starts out with all of the conventional teen challenges - body issues, Mom and sibling issues, fitting in at school, and so on. Treated very well is the fact that Anya is also a Russian-American immigrant with conflicting feelings about her position standing between the new and old worlds. Because Anya is smart and decent and fairly perceptive we have a good feeling about her even when she whinges or makes poor decisions. She never becomes so much a drama queen that she loses our sympathies, and even at the outset one senses her inner fiber. I expected a fairly predictable course to a happy or at least optimistic ending.

But then, Anya falls into an abandoned shaft and finds a body, or more precisely a skeleton, and the ghost of the young girl whose skeleton that was. The ghost girl is pretty and charming and full of innocent enthusiasm. She's wiser and more centered than Anya is and this begins to look like a light hearted fairy godmother sort of story, or maybe a variation on a "Lassie: episode with the ghost playing the role of the kindly guide and protector. But, wait a minute, if Gaiman thought this was a masterpiece there must be at least a creepy or unnerving third act. Well, maybe there is and maybe there isn't - that would be spoiling. Suffice to say that this isn't all cotton candy and butterflies.

This book is also appealing in that it seemed to me to represent an almost perfect marriage of text and drawing. The panels are crisp with sharp and expressive line drawings. The pencil work is thick, with simple one color washes, but a considerable amount of personality and drama comes through on every page. The ghost is especially well rendered, and is either very realistic or a bit abstract as the situation requires. Anya also comes across as very realistic, but there is always a bit of exaggeration or emphasis drawn into each character to emphasize, highlight or just complement the dialogue and the mood of the character. This is deceptively simple looking and yet remarkably accomplished drawing.

So, a nice coming of age tale and ghost story with a lot going on, all of it under control and well balanced. The overall effect is entertaining and rewarding. A nice find.

Please note that I found this book while browsing the local library's Kindle books, and downloaded it for free. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 February 2012
Big surprise: "Anya's Ghost" is about a ghost. And a girl named Anya. But Vera Nosgol's graphic novel is definitely a lot more than that, as it shows a young girl discovering the difference between what she thinks she wants and what she really does want. And her journey is intertwined with wry humor, the uglier layers of high school, and a ghost story that takes a very sinister, dark turn in the last third.

Anya is a fairly typical teen girl -- embarrassed by her very Russian family, unhappy with her curvy body, and enamored of the handsomest, most popular boy at school. On her way home, Anya accidentally falls down an old well. At the bottom, she discovers a ghost named Emily who died there ninety years ago -- and when Anya gets out, she accidentally brings Emily's finger bone with her, allowing the ghost to roam with her.

And at first, Emily makes everything better -- she sympathizes with Anya's woes, helps her on tests, and even helps her interact with her crush. But at a wild party, Anya discovers that the "perfect" teenagers don't quite have the perfect lives she thought. And after a bit of research into Emily's death, Anya realizes that her new friend has a horrifying dark side -- and unless Anya does what she wants, she's going to target Anya's family.

At first, "Anya's Ghost" feels like a 1980s John Hughes coming-of-age movie, only with the added twist of a ghostly companion. There's a lot of angst, crushes, school woes, and a teenage heroine who has to discover what is really important for her in life. And at first, it seems that this is a light little tale about a girl and her ghostly BFF. But everything takes a dark, spinechilling turn later in the story, especially since Emily suddenly develops a creepy, Single White Female-ish fixation on Anya's love life.

And Nosgol's stark, thick-lined artwork really enhances all the emotions the characters feel. The climax is absolutely, um, spinechilling, without any excessive flourishes. And the scene where Anya has an honest talk with the class outcast is touching without being maudlin.

And Anya herself is a startlingly realistic depiction of a teenage girl -- she's embarrassed by her odd family, tries desperately to fit in, and is uncomfortable with her curvy body. But before long, we see hints that her disaffected, sarcastic persona is just a shell, and that the real Anya is a much more reliable, goodhearted person. Emily is the flipside: she seems sweet, gentle and earnest at first, but grows increasingly creepy.

"Anya's Ghost" is one half ghost story, one half high-school/coming-of-age tale. And it's a superb, eerie story right to the end.
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on 16 November 2017
I really enjoyed this book. Loved the art. A real page turner.
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on 13 April 2017
Nice story, nice drawing style. If you like graphic novels this is a must!
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 28 January 2015
While Neil Gaiman's "YA masterpiece" blurb initially struck me as a bit over the top this book has a lot to recommend it. Not least is the fashion in which it starts as a fairly predictable teen angst morality tale and then morphs into something a little darker and more absorbing.

Our heroine, Anya, starts out with all of the conventional teen challenges - body issues, Mom and sibling issues, fitting in at school, and so on. Treated very well is the fact that Anya is also a Russian-American immigrant with conflicting feelings about her position standing between the new and old worlds. Because Anya is smart and decent and fairly perceptive we have a good feeling about her even when she whinges or makes poor decisions. She never becomes so much a drama queen that she loses our sympathies, and even at the outset one senses her inner fiber. I expected a fairly predictable course to a happy or at least optimistic ending.

But then, Anya falls into an abandoned shaft and finds a body, or more precisely a skeleton, and the ghost of the young girl whose skeleton that was. The ghost girl is pretty and charming and full of innocent enthusiasm. She's wiser and more centered than Anya is and this begins to look like a light hearted fairy godmother sort of story, or maybe a variation on a "Lassie: episode with the ghost playing the role of the kindly guide and protector. But, wait a minute, if Gaiman thought this was a masterpiece there must be at least a creepy or unnerving third act. Well, maybe there is and maybe there isn't - that would be spoiling. Suffice to say that this isn't all cotton candy and butterflies.

This book is also appealing in that it seemed to me to represent an almost perfect marriage of text and drawing. The panels are crisp with sharp and expressive line drawings. The pencil work is thick, with simple one color washes, but a considerable amount of personality and drama comes through on every page. The ghost is especially well rendered, and is either very realistic or a bit abstract as the situation requires. Anya also comes across as very realistic, but there is always a bit of exaggeration or emphasis drawn into each character to emphasize, highlight or just complement the dialogue and the mood of the character. This is deceptively simple looking and yet remarkably accomplished drawing.

So, a nice coming of age tale and ghost story with a lot going on, all of it under control and well balanced. The overall effect is entertaining and rewarding. A nice find.

Please note that I found this book while browsing the local library's Kindle books, and downloaded it for free. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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