|“||Look, I'm not going to...solve your murder or whatever, so you can rest in peace. Sorry, not my scene. But I'll tell someone to come bury your bones or something. Okay?||„|
|~ Anya to Emily Reilly|
Anya Is an insecure and dowdy teenage schoolgirl, a Russian-American (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.
In Anya's Ghost
In the novel, unpopular Anya befriends the ghost of Emily, an equitably-aged girl who died 90 years ago. After failing to make Anya popular and happy, Emily becomes manipulative and controlling leading Anya to discover that Emily actually died running from the police after murdering her unrequited love. Emily and Anya eventually face off over the truth and Emily's attempts to live the life she never had through Anya.
Anya is a Russian emigre living in the United States with her mother and brother (Sasha). Unpopular at her New England private high 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. The skeleton’s ghost, a shy, homely girl named Emily appears and explains that she too fell down the well and died of dehydration after breaking her neck ninety years ago. Emily wishes to befriend and help Anya, but cannot move far from her bones. Anya is soon rescued by a passerby, but Emily's skeleton remains undiscovered.
Emily later appears to Anya at school, Anya having inadvertently taken a finger bone from Emily's skeleton. Anya decides to keep the bone after Emily helps her cheat on a biology exam and spy on her crush, Sean. Emily gives her full name as Emily Reilly and explains that her fiancé died fighting in World War I, and that her parents were murdered at home. She was running from the killer when she fell down the well. Anya promises to find Emily’s killer, while Emily agrees to help Anya fit in at school and win over Sean. As their friendship develops, Anya drifts away from her one friend at school (Siobhan) while Emily becomes disinterested in discovering her murderer's identity.
At Emily's insistence, Anya dresses up and goes to a party attended by Sean and his girlfriend Elizabeth. There, Anya discovers that Sean habitually cheats on Elizabeth with her consent. Distraught, Anya leaves the party which makes Emily angry and confused for she believed Anya and Sean were destined for each other. Anya later notices Emily becoming more controlling than before and adjusting her appearance by straightening her hair and smoking ghostly cigarettes. Anya goes to the library without Emily to research the killer, and learns that Emily had no fiancé, and had in fact murdered a young couple in their home after the man rejected her, and then died running from the authorities.
When Anya returns home, the finger bone is missing. After being confronted with the truth, Emily shows that she is capable of moving solid objects, implying she put her finger bone in Anya's bag. Emily begins threatening Anya’s family to make Anya comply, even causing Anya’s mother to fall down the stairs. After Emily appears before Sasha, he reveals he found the bone earlier; Anya retrieves it and runs to the well, pursued by Emily.
Once there, Anya confronts Emily and accuses her of trying to live vicariously through Anya. Emily rebukes Anya, saying that she is no better (Anya having lied to Sean and distanced herself from Siobhan), and that the two of them are more alike then she wants to admit. After Emily fails to push Anya into the well, Anya drops the bone back in. Emily then possesses her own skeleton, and climbs out to give further chase. Anya stops and instead convinces Emily of the futility of her situation, causing the tearful ghost to dissipate, and the skeleton to fall back into the well. Later, Anya convinces her school to fill the well and rekindles her friendship with Siobhan.