Unpopular at her New England  private school, Anya skips school and walks through a nearby forest. Not seeing it, Anya falls into a dry well and finds herself alongside a human skeleton. Emily wishes to befriend and help Anya, but cannot move far from her bones. Anya decides to keep the bone after Emily helps her cheat on a biology exam and spy on her crush, Sean.
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Shelves: comics When I was in high school, there wasnt a lot of bullying. And there werent really any cliques. Or maybe there were but I was just too blissfully ignorant to notice.
Its not like I was especially popular. Its not as if I wasnt kind of nerdy or kind of artsy or kind of freaky. I mean, look at me. This is exactly as rad as it looks. Its more just that I never felt as if I couldnt, if I had wanted to, talk to someone and have them not snub me outright. Generally speaking, of course. There are even moments when I found myself gleefully surprised at a direction in which Vera Brosgol would choose to take her story.
A girl named Anya, high school shenanigans, and, of course, a ghost. So really, the joy is in the details of how the story all works out rather than in the genius of any of the three parts on their own. Apparently dressing like someone who can put together a plausible outfit is not something immigrants can naturally accomplish?
Both books speak gently to the threat of alienation, to the social stigma attached to not fitting in. Young women, know this: your fears of turning out to look like your mother are well-founded. Age is a terrible, terrible thing. It must be stopped. The world needs a new hero. Brosgol uses as much care with her exploration of the high school drama as she does in keeping her protagonist well-rounded.
There are no jocks, nerds, cheerleaders, skaters, goths, or loadies in evidence here. There are no Heathers. Instead, there are just kids. Anya has one best friend, an Irish girl named Siobhan, but she seems on friendly or at least neutral terms with most people. These are realistic persons forming a realistic net of relationships. I dated a girl once with haunted cleavage.
Well, okay, no. But pretending I did makes the whole thing seem more worthwhile. In fact, the entire package is just extremely well-conceived. The art, while cartoony and fairly simple, is just about perfect. This is trickier than you might imagine in the domain of YA lit. Consider the best-selling Hunger Games. Or the better-selling Twilight. Dialogue is hard. Smart or believable dialogue is harder still.
The ghost has a point, I guess. Prior to this work, I was entirely unfamiliar with Vera Brosgol or her work. I am now a fan.