Friday, August 26, 2011

Anya's Ghost

Here's a graphic novel that is for any teen - middle or high school - that feels left out. I read it yesterday and I have to agree with reviewers that it is a first rate story. The art work contributes to the story, but it isn't distracting either.

Anya is a Russian immigrant. Her mother still lives as she would back in Russia, while Anya wants to assimilate into the American life. At school she has only one friend, another outcast, and would do almost anything to be noticed by the cool kids. One day, as she skips classes, she falls down a hole and finds a ghost. The ghost's bones are in this hole, too. When Anya is rescued, the ghost tags along. At first she becomes a friend to Anya, but then the ghost becomes more demanding of Anya's time and attention. What will Anya do to get rid of her, or can she?

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol reminds me of American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, a Printz medal winner. It is about the immigrant experience, trying to fit in, and renouncing your own heritage. These two books aren't the same, but if you like realistic fiction (OK, I know there is a ghost in one of these books), I think you would enjoy both titles.

Lastly, for another middle school-high school experience you might try Smile by Raina Telgemier. A young girl must wear braces for most of middle and high school and learn to cope with her own self image.

I've enjoyed all these books, all in graphic format. I hope you'll check them out! ~Joyce Laiosa

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