Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 143
engaging origin story
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
SHADOW OF THE BATGIRL is an origin story for Cassandra Cain. Cassandra was raised by her villain father as a weapon- a deadly assassin, who did not understand much speech and was unable to read. When she is out on a kill, the person she is targeting says a word she knows, "daughter," but with a completely different context than she is used to. It makes her stop and flee the life she has known.

She ends up in a library, where she begins to teach herself speech and reading by watching writing lessons focusing on batgirl. As she becomes more entrenched in the library, she finds it to be a new home for herself, with a family of her own making.

What I loved: Much of this story is told in images rather than text, and I feel like this is a great quality for a graphic novel. I loved the characters. Cassandra is someone I would love to know, although she is dealing with PTSD-like symptoms and worried about the people she cares about. The other characters who she befriends, and her romantic interest, are all really fantastically done- I would love to keep reading about all of them! I also really love the diversity among the main characters, which is always great to see.

There are some interesting themes about choosing who you want to be- not uncommon in superhero stories, but still important nonetheless. There are also plots with the other characters of their own struggles, such as Erik who is seen as a high school jock, but who dreams of being a novelist and loves to read romance. He is dealing with parent and societal expectations on a different level than Cassandra, but it is still an important theme.

The illustrations are quite artistic, and I liked the focus on the characters and the way that the images really do tell the story.

Final verdict: SHADOW OF THE BATGIRL is a great origin story graphic novel about choosing your own path and deciding what type of person you want to be. With families that are made and fantastic characters all around, this is a great novel to pick up and a story line I would be very interested to continue.
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