by Jane Yolen
I know almost nothing about fencing, which made this graphic novel all the more interesting to me. It\’s about a teenage student who doesn\’t really fit in with any of the cliques at school. She stands by herself, as her main interest is fencing and practice leaves her little time for other activities. She\’s really good at it, too. Then a new boy comes to school, happens to be very attractive but he\’s also a little strange. He\’s her lab partner and slowly they sort-of-become friends (over the grossness of dissecting frogs). Ali (our heroine) also happens to be color-blind, so most of the pictures are in shades of gray. When color starts coming into the book, you know it means something significant! Anyway, Ali has always felt awkward around boys and she\’s pretty stunned when the new guy asks her out on a date… and then things happen. I was quite surprised. Surprised at the sudden turn into fantasy, surprised at the boy\’s secret identity. Expectant of a sequel, as the book\’s close just seemed to be introducing some wonderful possibilities. It was a careful set-up for who Ali is and I\’m expecting some big adventures in the future.
The artwork was very good. I went through the book a second time, just to look at all the pictures again. The first time I was focused on how the images told the story, and the main characters. But if you look at the scenery and background figures there is so much more expressed there in people types and other things going on in the background. Like the birds. I\’m really curious what meaning those crows had…. Guess I have to wait for the sequel to find out. I knew Yolen was a very prolific writer, but I didn\’t know before that she had authored a graphic novel! It was a really fun, engaging read.
vating: 3/5 …….. 160 pages, 2010