Today’s review is Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol. I came across this title on one of those “Top Graphic Novels of the Year” lists, although for the life of me I can’t find it now. That’s unfortunate, because that now-lost site was absolutely right: this is a great little book, and almost certainly one of the best of 2011.
I wasn’t familiar with Vera Brosgol’s work before, but I quickly fell in love with her illustrative style and clever & authentic writing. Brosgol beautifully renders Anya’s Ghost in clean ink lines and monochromatic watercolor. That combined with the cutesy characters give this book a very Scott-Pilgrimy feel – which is not at all a bad thing in my humble opinion. But perhaps the most charming aspect of her illustrations is the characters’ facial expressions. They are adorably exaggerated, and could honestly tell half of this tale all by themselves, without the aid of dialogue.
Fortunately, the dialogue and the story itself are also quite enjoyable. Without giving too much a way, Anya’s Ghost is sort of a teen angst/coming-of-age tale, with some added dashes of suspense, romance, and a murder mystery in just the right proportions. It’s fun, it’s cute, and it actually gets pretty intense toward the end. I found myself flying through the pages, barely looking at the lovely drawings because I was so caught up in the story.
It’s also a very quick read. I’d say I finished it in 2-3 hours, and believe me I’m no speed reader. That makes it a pretty low-risk book to pick up, which is good, because I highly recommend you do just that. Because even though it’s short and cute, it’s still everything a good graphic novel should be: fun, interesting, exciting, and well executed, with a lot of character. I’m giving this little gem a 9 out of 10, and it earned every digit. Furthermore, I’ll be keeping an eye out for more of Vera Brosgol’s work in the future!
Happy reading. 🙂