This was a very quick read and would serve as a great intro to graphic novels for those who haven't read them before. I thought it was a great story about a very relatable protagonist named Anya, a teenaged Russian emigrant who is determined to shed everything Russian about her (from her accent to her clothes and curves) so that she can better fit in to her American private high school. Anya is quirky, with an attitude and a mind of her own, and has a badass best friend named Siobhan who doesn't follow the mainstream or do what's expected of her (she's the only female character who wears pants instead of the short skirts of their school's uniforms). They sneak cigarettes together and skip gym and other boring classes and try to be cool little rebels. But Anya still strives for greatness, i.e. the basketball hunk named Sean and his popular clique, and after she falls in a well one day and stumbles upon a helpful ghost named Emily who hopes to make all of her dreams come true for her, Anya thinks she's got it made...but all isn't what it seems with Emily.
I really enjoyed the artwork in this book - I liked that Vera Brosgol didn't depend so much on dialogue to move the story along or give details and hints to the story. The characters are very expressive and there are cool little details throughout that really add to the characters and plot. For example, in Anya's bedroom there are music posters on the wall for The Shins, Belle & Sebastian, Weezer, etc., and that gives another little dimension to who she is and what kind of stuff she's into. The trip to the public library was awesome too because she had to figure out how to use microfilm, which I used to have to use at work, so that stuff was kind of nostalgic for me.
Overall very enjoyable, with beautiful and detailed illustrations, a fun story, a good lesson about accepting and loving who you are and where you come from, and some nice little trips down memory lane.
Here's a link to some snap shots of the book's illustrations as well as a book trailer:my link text