Foiledby Jane Yolen, Mike Cavallaro (Illustrator)
A quirky, fast-paced urban fantasy by esteemed author Jane Yolen
Aliera Carstairs just doesn't fit in. She's always front and center at the fencing studio, but at school she's invisible. And she's fine with that . . . until Avery Castle walks into her first period biology class. Avery may seem perfect now, but will he end up becoming her Prince Charming or just
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Aliera Carstairs is a loner. She doesn't fit into any cliques at school - which is fine by her. She's not smart enough to be a nerd. She's not preppy nor popular. Her fencing skills don't count towards jock status. She's practically invisible, until she lands the new hot boy for her science lab partner. She knows he's attractive. He especially knows he's attractive. Still, she can't help notice him. When he asks her out, she accepts knowing that she'll have to break an outing with her cousin, Each week, Aliera and her cousin play a fantasy role playing game. It's the biggest outing of the week for Aliera, who spends most of her free time fencing. She feels bad for canceling but promises to make it up to her cousin by spilling all the details. When she does meet him, the date goes horribly wrong. Aliera feels like she's seeing the world for the first time and it's nothing like she ever expected. Could he be her knight in shinning armor or her worst nightmare? My Thoughts: I don't usually read graphic novels, but there are some that I read amazing reviews and decide to pick it up. This was one of those books. I really enjoyed reading it. I'm hoping this is the start of a series as it ended just as the story was beginning. I really like Aliera. I like how she's different. I love the fencing parts to the story and how she dominates in her sport.
Fencing is Aliera's life. Every day she goes to school then heads to fencing practice. She even fences on weekends when she's not visiting her disabled cousin. Fencing makes her feel strong, and she's good at it. She takes her fencing teacher's lessons seriously, particularly the one that says to guard her heart. That's why she resists when cute, popular Avery starts to show an interest in her. But since he's her lab partner in school she can't avoid him forever. Foiled by Jane Yolen is cleverly put together to correspond to action in a fencing match. Each of the fencing moves has a corresponding part of the story to go with it. Mike Cavallaro does an excellent job of illustrating both Aliera's gray colorblind world and the color she sees later, when the story takes a twist. The story touches on lots of middle-school-aged worries, such as popularity, kissing for the first time, and dating. Be aware though: near the end of the novel it morphs from this storyline into a fantasy graphic novel. The tone changes then from using fencing as a metaphor for life relationships into actually using fencing skills for protection. It's easy to see when this happens, as the drawings turn to color, but the switch may be confusing to some. It seems as though this is the first in a series for the new storyline, and it could be fun to follow it along as the story continues to play out. Aliera is a strong female character who is not afraid to show her strength. Recommended for readers aged 9 to 12.