Clem Hetherington and the Ironwood Race (Clem Hetherington #1)
Clementine Hetherington and her robot brother, Digory, have run away from the orphanage they've been living in since their parents died. Clem and Dig want to follow in their famous archaeologist mother's footsteps, but no one will take them seriously. Their chance arrives when a man from their past saves Digory's life, and to repay the debt they enter a multiday rally race... to recover stolen artifacts! Clem and Dig hope to win so they can give the artifacts to a museum, but their opponents want to sell them on the black market. The Ironwood Race has no rules, and Clem and Dig might be in over their heads!
Clem is an appealing character. She wants to follow in her parents' footsteps but doesn't want to take the time to go through school, which is understandable given the precarious nature of life in her world. The professor is a scatter brained but warm influence who wants the best for Clem, even if she doesn't agree with her vision. Kilborn is complicated and hard to understand, adding to the mystery element of the book. Digory is an engaging and capable robot companion. Even Tte young mechanic they meet during the race, Hec, is a nice addition.
This is a well formatted graphic novel. It is about the trim size of a standard middle grade fiction book, which gives more space for pictures, and the text is slightly larger and more readable than some manga. There isn't too much of it, either, so it's easy to comprehend the words that are that. This may seem like a picky observation, but since reluctant or struggling readers are drawn to books with pictures, I am not happy when there are a lot of tiny words crammed on pages in graphic novels. The Scholastic Graphix books usually have given more thought to the ratio of pictures to words as well as these other formatting issues.
Fans of Winnick's Hilo or Brailliers The Last Kids on Earth will enjoy racing along with Clem and Digory on their quest to uncover artifacts and get themselves into the good graces of the archaeological world.