Then a new cute boy shows up at school and things start to change. Now she wants this boy to notice her. When he does, she feels an electrical charge. Who is this boy? And why is he now paying attention to her? On the way to her first 'date' strange things start happening making Aliera wonder what's going on.
This is a fun graphic novel with a strong heroine who just happens to be great at fencing. But she's like any other teenager in that she feels uncomfortable around cute guys and wants to fit in. I especially liked the revelation Aliera gets when she puts on her mask at the New York Subway station. Not all is what it seems. Including hot guys! The illustrations are bright and fun too.
A fun addition to any graphic novel fan's collection. Also to those who like strong heroines.
I am so disappointed with this one. The idea is good enough, but there is just something off. Aliera makes a strong protagonist. She's a fierce fencer, a mediocre student, and a loner. That's a solid combination for an interesting character. Unfortunately, when a new student arrives, she starts acting different. She's cracking jokes just to get a laugh out of her new hottie lab partner, she's skipping out on her family for a date, and doing other things that would get classified as "silly".
Obviously there is something important about this new hottie on the scene. There are hints about a budding relationship, but nothing solid. That drove me nuts. It came across as more wishy-washy and poorly planned instead of mysterious.
Then the ending kind of rushes by and you are left going, "Ooookay." Foiled appears to be a series, or at least a second book is available. Maybe Foiled Again will have more action that lends itself to a well-developed plot. Foiled seemed more the setting and introduction to the story arc instead of a solid plot structure in and of itself.
I try to read graphic novels because some kids will read these over daunting chapter books, but this is one I will skip recommending for now. It just didn't dazzle me the way I expected it to.
Even the smallest high schools have cliques. Thats what Aliera Carstairs tells us. Shes a New York City high school sophomore that doesnt fit in with any clique; shes a loner and she likes it that way. Her after-school routine is bus and subway transfers to her fencing school where she dominates thanks to a shaggy Hagrid kind of guy who teaches her. Saturdays follow a similar routine but end with visits to her aunt and teen cousin (who happens to be wheelchair bound due to arthritis). Aliera and Caroline, her cousin, spend their time in a role-playing game in which Aliera is the Defender and Caroline, the Queen. But is that a role-playing game or real life? When breathtakingly handsome Avery Castle develops into more than just a lab partner, much of Alieras world will be unmasked.
I wondered why the graphic novel was predominantly rendered in greyscale. As I progressed through the story, I learned that the heroine is color blind. Aha! Then flashes of color begin creeping into the drawings. Brilliant use of illustration to help tell the story!
I am also ashamed to admit that my familiarity with the incredible Jane Yolen comes only through her fiction and nonfiction books for children. I wasnt even aware that she writes sci fi for teens until I picked up this book and researched a little more about one of my favorite childrens authors. Wow, is it possible to hold her in even higher esteem?
Aside from the wonderful marriage of story and pictures, I was impressed by the theme of self-discovery. Yolen portrays strong, confident women in a very positive light. In addition, its okay to be a loner and pursue your passion. All of these are wonderful themes to carry into the hands of young women.
YALSA has included Foiled in the list of nominations for 2011?s Great Graphic Novels for Teens. I think this is a wise choice since so many graphic novels are geared toward male readers, especially reluctant readers. Heres a hook for reluctant readers of the female persuasion looking for a strong heroine.
For librarians (or anyone else whos interested!) there is a Foiled board game! All the pieces you need to assemble a game box is included in a PDF (I found it online by searching the terms "Yolen Foiled Board Game").
(This review originally appeared in my blog, YA Need Books; reprinted here with permission of the author--me!)