Girl on Fire

Girl on Fire
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
March 01, 2022
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Lolo Wright always thought she was just a regular fourteen-year-old dealing with regular family drama: her brother, James, is struggling with his studies; her dad’s business constantly teeters on the edge of trouble; and her mother . . . she left long ago. But then Lolo’s world explodes when a cop pulls a gun on James in a dangerous case of mistaken identities. Staring down the barrel, with no one else to help, Lolo discovers powers she never knew she had. Using only her mind, she literally throws the cop out of the way.

Problem is that secrets like Lolo’s don’t stay a secret for long. Skin, a dangerous dealer with designs on taking over the neighborhood, hears of Lolo’s telekinetic abilities and decides that he needs her in his crew. Skin might not have Lolo’s powers, but he’s got nothing to lose and is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants. And what he wants is Lolo.

Lolo’s not willing to let Skin use her to hurt the people—and neighborhood—that she loves. But it’s going to take a whole different kind of bravery to stand-up for what’s right, especially after Lolo’s mom returns suddenly and turns Lolo’s whole world upside-down. For too long, it’s true, Lolo’s had her head in the clouds, but this time, it’s on her . . . and she’s not backing down.

Girl on Fire is a young adult graphic novel about a girl who’s a flame. It’s the first-ever graphic novel from beloved GRAMMY® Award-winning artist Alicia Keys, co-written by Andrew Weiner and illustrated by Brittney Williams.  

Editor review

1 review
Fresh Superhero Tale
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Lolo Wright and her brother James live in New York City and attend a school in a somewhat rough neighborhood, although they both excel academically thanks to the influence of their father, who has high expectations for their behavior. Their mother left the family years ago, after struggling with drug addiction and other problems. Their father has started his own moving company, and things are looking up for the family, which also includes their mother's mother, who also supports the children. Michael also attends their school, but when the football coach tells him that he's still not big enough for the team, and the other players start calling him "Runt", he starts to be tempted to join ranks with the local drug dealer, Skin. When Lolo and James get caught in the middle of a convenience store robbery and the police assume that James is the suspect, they mistreat him and push Lolo aside. She finds that she suddenly has powers to get the police off her brother without touching them, and the two are able to escape. This experience traumatizes James, who doesn't share his emotions with anyone except for Nia, Lolo's best friend. Lolo continues on with her academics, and gets assigned to work on a group project with Eric, whose father is very wealthy but insists his son attend a public school to build character. He admires Lolo's academics, and the two start to be friends, even though previously Eric had supported the local mean girl who made Lolo miserable. When Skin finds out about Lolo's powers, he is determined to bring her skills to his team. He also looks at her father's moving business as one to target for protection payment. He makes Michael approach him for payment, but since Mr. Wright was supportive of Michael and his family after his father's death from cancer, Michael finds it hard to do what Skin asks. Skin, in retaliation to Mr. Wright's refusal to pay, blows up his moving truck, which puts the family's plans to move to Rockaway on hold. Will Lolo, Michael, and Mr. Wright be able to resist Skin's advances and continue with their lives? And how will Lolo's powers affect her future. There is plenty of room for a further adventure.
Good Points
Williams' drawing will be familiar to readers of Goldie Vance and volume 3 of Lumberjanes, and her comic book style of illustrating is perfect for this superhero tale. The New York landscape gets a lot of attention, with storefronts, the school, and shady alleys and warehouses nicely drawn, and the range of emotions on the faces is much deeper than the average graphic novel. The color palette changes with the mood of the scenes, but is very rich and layered.

Lolo's story is one that will appeal to suburban readers as something unusual and interesting, and will give urban dwellers representation that might seem familiar. I love that Lolo is academically advanced, and the way she deals with the pressure of other's expectations of her are realistically drawn. Her relationship with Eric is interesting, and at the end of the book she is especially kind to the mean girl, which was a nice twist.

Like Muro's Primer, I'm not sure if Lolo is reflective of a Marvel or DC super hero unknown to me, or an entirely new creation, but this matters little. Readers who enjoyed other urban tales like Maldonado's Tight or Booth's We Could Be Brothers or who like the updated versions of the Black Panther or Spider Man stories will enjoy this fresh treatment of an unlikely superhero who uses her powers to protect her family and those she loves.
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