Sunday, August 8, 2010

Foiled by Jane Yolen

Believe it or not, this is my FIRST experience with Jane Yolen! You know, I've probably read some of her short stories here and there, but I've never read a longer work of hers. Foiled is a graphic novel and it's one that I found rather odd at first. Really, I found it odd right up to the end where it really gets odd, but in a weird way, perfectly makes sense. But don't let MY nonsense here deter you from this one :p It's quite good. Foiled is the story of a young girl named Aliera who has grown up with fencing as her hobby. Unable to fit in anywhere and with anyone, fencing has become her identity, her strength and her support along with her cousin who she plays role playing games with. Her eccentric mother who can't pass up a bargain sale has bought her a new foil at a garage sale and though Aliera likes the way she fights with it, she hates the jewel that's on it's handle. But she's become accustomed to hand me downs that aren't perfect. Another thing that isn't perfect in her life is her social existence. Aliera doesn't have any friends aside from her cousin and to say she has social anxiety is an understatement. When a new boy arrives at school unexpectedly with looks to kill Aliera's hormones seem to kick into high gear. And lucky her gets assigned as his lab partner. Everything is up in the air here as a fantastical mystery unfolds taking us to places where things are not quite what they seem. I see now why people enjoy Jane Yolen so much. She writes relateable stories that fully entertain and she puts fantastic spins on age old stories. Aliera was such a wonderful character and was developed so well in just these short 160 pages. My one complaint about the book would maybe be that I wish the other characters would've been developed a bit more too. But there really aren't that many secondary characters. The ending just felt quite rushed. I would've liked to see things fleshed out more. But overall I really enjoyed this one. It's hard to talk about it too much without giving the whole book away. I learned a lot about fencing in this one too which is really neat!! Aliera herself is a fantastic fencer, and really just an awesome person despite what she thinks of herself. She's colorblind and Yolen with the help of illustrator Mike Cavallaro portrays most of the book in black and white to show this until the later chapters. I'd recommend this one for young and old! Its one of those books that you could buy for the whole family and just pass it around to everyone. Gladly putting this one on the keeper shelves.

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