16 December 2011

Foiled by Jane Yolen

Aliera Carstairs is not really all that cool, at least not according to her super-girly high school classmates.  But to her fencing opponents, Aliera is magic (though perhaps still not liked for it).  When a new boy at school, Avery Castle, seems to be paying attention to Aliera, she's flustered and confused, but since he's the nicest looking boy she's ever seen, she pushes aside his quirky weirdness and tries not to second-guess his intentions towards her.  She's thrilled -- and terrified! -- when he asks her out on a Saturday night.  Most of Aliera's Saturday nights consist of role-playing with her younger cousin Caroline AKA Queen Furby.  

Typically, Avery is late for their date and Aliera spends quite a while people-watching in Grand Central Station.  Here, she meets a beautiful winged woman.  And then a troll.  And something evil existing within a dark cloud.  And she discovers that she's supposed to be the Defender . . . of someone or something else's world.  

Aliera learns that not everything is as it appears, and that sometimes you can only see clearly with a focus, or a purpose.  She also discovers that the world often doesn't care whether or not you're ready to exert your power when it asks you to do so.  Aliera must always defend her heart, but be willing to talk risks to propel herself further along.  Recommended to all middle grade fantasy readers.  The illustrations in this graphic novel are wonderful!

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

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