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Foiled
     

Foiled

3.5 2
by Jane Yolen, Mike Cavallaro (Illustrator)
 

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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

Overview

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 a toad?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Aliera Carstairs attends a small high school in New York City and feels like an outcast in its crowds of cliques, jocks, goths, nerds, and preps. She's always been a loner and doesn't know where she belongs. The only control she has is fencing and the role-playing games she plays with her disabled cousin. Then the gorgeous and flirtatious Avery Castle becomes her lab partner, and a crush quickly ensues. Plus there's her mysterious practice sword with the irremovable ruby in the hilt. Famed YA author Yolen weaves a familiar tale of the heroine's journey, while addressing Aliera's helplessness before Avery's glamour. But Avery has some secrets of his own—cutting up frogs in lab class is his idea of fun—and all the threads converge at Grand Central Station in a botched first date that turns into a high fantasy adventure. Cavallaro's art is rounded and cartoony, handling action and the fantasy elements well while skimping a bit on characterization—his Avery is just a sorta cute cartoon boy, not a devastating heartbreaker, but Aliera is a strong and likable protagonist. Yolen weaves her knowledge of fencing vividly throughout the plot, powerfully creating romance, mystery, adventure, fantasy, and drama, all rolled into a strong narrative. Ages 11–up. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

“Yolen's first foray into the graphic format is a success precisely because she incorporates the best weapon in her arsenal - fantasy. In Aliera she has created a strong, conflicted, and relatable girl hero who wields her wariness for protection. Cavallaro's artwork suits Aliera's monochrome existence, but bursts to life when she finally sees (in color!) the faerie beasties cheering her on.” —Courtney Jones, Booklist

“Veteran fantasist Yolen introduces the utterly charming and sassy Aliera, a quirky tenth-grade loner who's both color-blind and an expert fencer, in this charming graphic novel ... An enchanting tale, with hints of a possible continuance. For fantasy lovers, this is an absolute must-read. (Graphic fantasy. 12 & up)” —Kirkus Reviews

“Illustrations complement the text well, with larger pictures reflecting the character's situation and feelings ... The ending will leave readers anxiously awaiting the second installment in the series.” —Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI, School Library Journal

“Cavallaro's art is rounded and cartoony, handling action and the fantasy elements well while skimping a bit on characterization-his Avery is just a sorta cute cartoon boy, not a devastating heartbreaker, but Aliera is a strong and likable protagonist. Yolen weaves her knowledge of fencing vividly throughout the plot, powerfully creating romance, mystery, adventure, fantasy, and drama, all rolled into a strong narrative.” —Publishers Weekly

Children's Literature - Michael Jung
This first graphic novel by celebrated fantasy author Yolen introduces readers to Aliera, a young fencing champion, whose life changes in strange ways after her mother buys her a fencing foil with a ruby glued to the hilt. At first, the changes seem positive—the weapon helps in Aliera's fencing matches and even earns her the attention of her cute lab partner Avery. But when Aliera learns that she can see magical creatures by looking through her fencing mask, she starts wondering if she is going crazy or if her unusual abilities hint at a greater destiny. As the first installment in a planned two-part series, this novel succeeds brilliantly as a detailed portrait of a young outsider's everyday life, but not, ironically enough, as high fantasy. Yolen spends most of the story exploring Aliera's struggles with school, her fencing, and her private insecurities, while devoting a only few chapters to the fantasy world Aliera finds near the end. Ideally this flaw will be corrected in the sequel as Aliera ends this book wondering about the magic world she is capable of seeing and her place in it. If the story moves in this direction, readers can expect great things from Cavallaro's art based on his exceptional drawings of the faeries, trolls, and dragons Aliera sees. In a creative move, because Aliera is color blind, Cavallaro paints all of his scenes in shades of gray, but he gives the magical creatures bright, vivid colors as Aliera gains her faerie sight. It is a clever visual strategy—somewhat akin to the switch from sepia tones to Technicolor in MGM's The Wizard of Oz—that makes the book so entertaining visually. Reviewer: Michael Jung
Library Journal
Far more skilled than her classmate fencers, teen loner Aliera Carstairs relies on her special jeweled fencing foil, bought by her mother at a yard sale. Knocked off equilibrium when the cute boy she admires asks her for a date, she waits for him in Grand Central Station where she sees fantasy creatures when she puts on the fencing mask. Suddenly a magical adventure erupts, and her date with Avery Castle unmasks quite unexpected roles for her and Avery. Black and green wash evoke Aliera's color-blindness, with color appearing when she sees the fantasy creatures. Look for Aliera's engaging adventure to continue in Curses, Foiled Again.

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—The chapters in this clever graphic novel follow the terms of a fencing match, from "Engagement" to "Disengagement," with successive stages in between. Most of the illustrations are done in two tones as Aliera Carstairs makes it through her humdrum days in high school, where she doesn't fit in. Color begins to appear when she puts on her fencing mask at Grand Central Station and the fantasy begins. Illustrations complement the text well, with larger pictures reflecting the character's situation and feelings. After meeting her date and admitting to seeing ogres and dragons when wearing her mask, he thinks she is crazy, but a wild adventure ensues. She loses her weapon but it is returned by a fairylike creature who tells her that the foil her mother purchased at a tag sale is the source of her powers, and she is the defender and now part of a world called Helfdon. The ending will leave readers anxiously awaiting the second installment in the series.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI
Kirkus Reviews
Veteran fantasist Yolen introduces the utterly charming and sassy Aliera, a quirky tenth-grade loner who's both color-blind and an expert fencer, in this charming graphic novel. Aliera slinks her way through high school, focusing on fencing practice, reading and engaging in role-playing games with her cousin. When hunky Avery Castle arrives at her school, all the girls are immediately smitten, and Aliera also falls for Avery's good looks and charm, though she tries to downplay her feelings for him. An odd turn of events throws Aliera's routine off balance, and everything in her life she knew to be real-from a practice foil her mother bought her at a tag sale to the lothario Avery to the entire world as she knew it-is suddenly not what it appears to be. This fantastic change brings color into her life, and the drab grays that wash over Cavallaro's panels now burst with vibrantly hued blasts. An enchanting tale, with hints of a possible continuance. For fantasy lovers, this is an absolute must-read. (Graphic fantasy. 12 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596432796
Publisher:
First Second
Publication date:
04/13/2010
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
508,358
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 8.58(h) x 0.45(d)
Lexile:
GN460L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Jane Yolen is one of the most distinguished and successful authors for young readers and adults in the country. She is the author of more than 200 books--including Briar Rose, Sister Light, Sister Dark, Owl Moon, and the immensely popular The Devil's Arithmetic. Her books have won awards including the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, the Jewish Book Award, and two Christopher Medals. She lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts.

Mike Cavallaro is originally from New Jersey. He has worked in the New York comics and animation industries since the early '90s. Mike is a member of the web-comics collective, ACT-I-VATE, where he contributes weekly web comics, including the true-life historic memoir, Parade (With Fireworks), a 2008 Eisner Award nominee. He lives in Brooklyn.

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Foiled 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
mrdarcy3 More than 1 year ago
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.
Mother-Daughter-Book-Club More than 1 year ago
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.