Tag Archives: ghost

Book Review: BOO by Neil Smith

Published 21st May 2015 by Windmill Books.

24702495Goodreads Synopsis: When Oliver ‘Boo’ Dalrymple wakes up in heaven, the eighth-grade science geek thinks he died of a heart defect at his school. But soon after arriving in this hereafter reserved for dead thirteen-year-olds, Boo discovers he’s a ‘gommer’, a kid who was murdered. What’s more, his killer may also be in heaven. With help from the volatile Johnny, a classmate killed at the same school, Boo sets out to track down the mysterious Gunboy who cut short both their lives.
In a heartrending story written to his beloved parents, the odd but endearing Boo relates his astonishing heavenly adventures as he tests the limits of friendship, learns about forgiveness and, finally, makes peace with the boy he once was and the boy he can now be.

My Review: As soon as I’d read the synopsis for Boo I knew it would be my kind of book – it reminded me of an old favourite anime series, Angel Beatswhich is about a high school that deceased teenagers find themselves at. The ‘heaven’ in this book is quite different, though shares similar themes, so I was really interested in reading Boo.

Boo is the nickname of the protagonist, Oliver – who wakes up in an afterlife consisting only of American 13 year-olds like himself. He thinks he’s died of a heart problem in school – but when he finds his sort-of friend there with him, Boo has to track down who killed them.

The story is very dark and unnerving at points – but is also unexpectedly a heart-warming story about the bonds people make. I couldn’t predict a single thing about the plot – it turns in ways impossible to imagine. The ‘reveal’ was abrupt and shocking. There’s no way I could’ve guessed it, but as soon as I finished the book I was wondering how I’d missed it! It definitely sent a chills through me, though.

Neil Smith’s imaginative ability is admirable. His version of heaven in Boo felt completely individual and was the perfect backdrop for the mystery plot. As fantastical as it was, it seemed so real: Each uniquely crafted character of the strangely bound community seemed to jump from the page, brimming with personality.

The main protagonists were incredibly memorable. Oliver is a slightly awkward thirteen year-old, who is more engrossed in his science fascination than anything else. I saw a little of my thirteen year-old (and current…) self in him and his voice grabbed me from page one. I’m sure I say that the voice stood out about a lot of books I read, but Boo was just different. The narrative was flawless to me and I felt Boo’s vulnerability and curiosity shine through.

Overall, I’d without a doubt recommend Boo. It’s certainly not for everyone, given its disturbing subject – but it’s hard to fault Neil Smith’s writing. His characterisation and narrative were brilliant – as was the plot, which unravelled cleverly. Boo didn’t turn out the simple ghost murder mystery I thought it would be: It was addictive, ingenious and the kind of book that breaks your heart then sticks it back together again. Multiple times. I can see Boo getting a lot of attention!

My Rating:

four and a half

I received a copy of Boo from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Graphic Novel Review: Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Published 2011 by First Second books.

9615347Goodreads Synopsis: Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part.
Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.
Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.
Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya’s Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining début from author/artist Vera Brosgol.

My Review: Anya’s Ghost was such a brilliant graphic novel! It caught my eye in the library earlier in the month, and I’d read a couple of great things online. I couldn’t wait any longer to read it… Whilst in the middle of loads of titles, I picked it up. Once I had, it was hard to put down! It’s original, compelling, and has some of the most beautiful illustrations.

I wasn’t expecting so much from the 200 page story. It deals with an insecure teenage girl who doesn’t quite fit in, paranormal murder mysteries, and above all friendship… it’s all blended together to make a really emotional and addictive story! I guess I do read a lot of paranormal books… but none that deal with friendship as opposed to a romance story which is more often seen. This story made for a really fresh look on things. And it quickly turns from heart-warming to sinister and terrifying… I really wasn’t expecting the plot twists!

Anya was a very relatable character; she’s a teenager under exam pressure, finding it hard to fit in with anyone in school, struggling to maintain a friendship with the one girl who hangs around with her. It was easy to understand her and I grew really attached to Anya! She develops so much through the book, as she discovers certain things about people in her life and begins to make different and life-changing decisions. Anya’s ghost, Emily, also develops a lot in a really unpredictable way. She’s a really complex and unpredictable character. I didn’t see the ending for the story coming.

The artwork is absolutely beautiful. The style of drawing is simple and cartoon-y, but it really just… went with the story. I loved it. I was really absorbed in the drawings, and I found myself going back over pages after I’d finished just to admire some of the panels! The colour scheme is really pretty, all dark shades of grey and purple.

Overall, I’d really highly recommend Anya’s Ghost to anyone, whether you’re a reader of graphic novels or not! The story was really complex and riveting, with some unpredictable twists that leave readers in a daze. Vera Brosgol has created some very memorable characters that I was left thinking about long after the last page. It was breathtaking, and probably one of the best débuts I’ve read in a while!

My Rating:

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I borrowed a copy of Anya’s Ghost from my local library.