Anya's Ghost is a single-issue graphic novel by Vera Brosgol. It features Anya: an insecure, dowdy teenager, a Russian immigrant (although she's lost the accent), who finds herself struggling with the day-to-day trials of highschool life, like her crush Sean and mouthy friend Siobhan. One day, she falls down an abandoned well and discovers the bones of a young girl who fell down there before her... As well as the ghost of said girl, still haunting the well she died in ninety years prior. The ghost, Emily, turns out to be pretty friendly, and the two eventually become good friends, as well as partners in crime. (Anya uses her invisible buddy to cheat on tests, keep watch while she's smoking and spy on classmates.) Of course, these sort of things rarely end well, and soon Emily proves more of a problem than a friend.A lovely story about friendship, selfishness and maturity. Try the artist's blog for more information.
Anti-Hero: Anya is a Type III/IV. She's definitely no angel: Who lies about her last name and ethnicity, conspires to steal the boyfriend of a girl who has never wronged her whilst playing nice to said girl, ditches her one friend the moment she finds another friend who acts subservient to her, and seriously believes that nerds and minorities have themselves to thank for being picked on? Why, our heroine of course.
She does show moral backbone when push comes to shove, though. She can't go through with having sex with Sean, out of pity for Elizabeth; apologizes to Siobhan when meeting up with her later; comforts Dima when he asks her how she manages to survive high school so well; and in the end stops lying about being Russian.
Bastard Boyfriend: Sean turns out to be this when it's revealed that he makes out (possibly even sleeps) with other girls at parties for fun, even when Elizabeth knows about it AND KEEPS WATCH WHILE HE'S DOING IT.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Were led to believe at first that Emily is just timid but friendly ghost who only wants to be free from the hole her remains are in akin to Casper. But once she manages to get Anya to got to Sean's party. The facade slowly starts to crumble and we begin to see how she really is.
Character Development: Largely with Anya, she comes off as a moody and unlikeable character at the beginning of the story, only caring about herself. As she goes through her encounter with Emily, she begins to realize her own faults and how she previously thought of others were wrong. Ultimately growing to become a more caring character.
Control Freak: "Highschool's pretty fun, but imagine how great college will be! Not that you'll be needing any more boy help pretty soon! How young do people get married nowadays? ...Well, we'll just have to find that out then, won't we?"
Evil Counterpart / Not So Different - Emily is the evil counterpart to Anya. She starts out mellowed out pretty well after ninety years sitting in a well to think about what she's done, but when Anya teaches her her own high school lifestyle she reawakens the beast, and the beast turns out to possess exaggerated versions of all of Anya's negative traits: Emily is obsessive over boys (but unlike Anya, she is a Yandere), sees existing girlfrends of 'mark' boys as not human individuals who deserve respect as such - but just competition (but unlike Anya, she is inclined to murder them), lies and manipulates (but not just about her last name, she lies about her entire past). The mirroring is even physical: she dons Anya's hairdo and starts smoking "ghost cigarettes", presumably a mimicing of Anya's bad habit. In the end, we even get an explicit You're Just Like Me speech from Emily - and Anya partially concedes the point, stating that she is enough like her to at least understand her.
Foreshadowing: The cover. At first glance it just looks like Anya with the Emily we're first introduced to, but look closer and you'll see Emily's hairstyle is different. It's the hairstyle she gets when she first begins to reveal her true self to Anya.
Jacob Marley Apparel: Emily explicitly expresses the wish to upgrade her turn-of-the-century jumper, but she's apparently stuck with it. Played with later as she learns to change her poofy hair into a more modern style, Foreshadowing her shift out of the 'innocent victim' persona.
Jerkass Has a Point: While Anya admits that's she's no different from Emily in some similar traits, she's right to point out Emily more than had her chance when she was alive and her dilemma is the result of her own rash actions and failing to grasp their consequences.
One-Winged Angel: A mild form of this at the climax, when Emily hauls her bones up from the well in a last-ditch attempt to kill Anya. She looks like a ghostly silhouette with a tangible skeleton underneath.
Shown her work - Vera Brosgol knows how to investigate old newspapers using microfilm, and she will make damn sure you do too when you've read this. With four pages, and a diagram. (Oh, and by the way, Anya's right: it will hurt your eyes. Don't do this for too long wearing contacts).