ARC Review: Alena

AlenaAlena by Kim W. Andersson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Release date: September 6, 2016

Alena’s life is a living hell. Since starting at the snobbish boarding school Alena’s been harassed every day by Philippa and the girls on the lacrosse team. But Alena’s best friend Josephine is not going to accept that anymore-not from the counselor or principal, not from Philippa, and not from anyone at that horrid school. If Alena does not fight back then Josephine will take matters into her own hands. There’s just one problem-Josephine has been dead for a year.

Alena has the typical ghost story formula – school bullies + vengeful ghosts, but it also has something more. The story begins with Alena in a new school, a year later after her friend Josephine died. Here, she is being bullied relentlessly by the lacrosse team girls, mainly Phillipa, who is this snooty spoiled princess. The administration overlooks the fact that she is being bullied, making it seem like it is her grief issues and that she is not assimilating with the students well. To make a change, Alena undergoes a personality and physical makeover on the advice of her dead friend’s ghost, whom she sees often. The bullying doesn’t stop, of course, but now strange things are happening to the bullies as well as the guy Alena is with. The story continues in the vein of psychological versus supernatural – with Josephine’s ghost being a metaphorical and physical presence.

Alena’s story, though not entirely original, is brilliantly told, with Alena being a victim of rampant bullying, but also being antisocial to anyone trying to help. As the story unfolds, the events escalate, and the veil of mystery surrounding the events of the year ago opens up. While the story is pretty good, sadly, I can’t say the same for the artwork. It is sloppy, the proportions are off in many places, and the artist can’t draw correct expressions properly – laughing looks like grimacing, shouting looks like yawning, cheeky grins look like sinister smiles; the list goes on. The storyboard overall, is satisfactory, though, bringing out the story efficiently. Overall, read it for the story.

P.S. There is also a Swedish movie based on this story that I am going to check out!

Received a free galley from Dark Horse Comics, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.

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