Foiled by Jane Yolen

Believe it or not, this is my FIRST experience with Jane Yolen! You know, I’ve probably read some of her short stories here and there, but I’ve never read a longer work of hers. Foiled is a graphic novel and it’s one that I found rather odd at first. Really, I found it odd right up to the end where it really gets odd, but in a weird way, perfectly makes sense. But don’t let MY nonsense here deter you from this one :p It’s quite good.

Foiled is the story of a young girl named Aliera who has grown up with fencing as her hobby. Unable to fit in anywhere and with anyone, fencing has become her identity, her strength and her support along with her cousin who she plays role playing games with. Her eccentric mother who can’t pass up a bargain sale has bought her a new foil at a garage sale and though Aliera likes the way she fights with it, she hates the jewel that’s on it’s handle. But she’s become accustomed to hand me downs that aren’t perfect.

Another thing that isn’t perfect in her life is her social existence. Aliera doesn’t have any friends aside from her cousin and to say she has social anxiety is an understatement. When a new boy arrives at school unexpectedly with looks to kill Aliera’s hormones seem to kick into high gear. And lucky her gets assigned as his lab partner. Everything is up in the air here as a fantastical mystery unfolds taking us to places where things are not quite what they seem.

I see now why people enjoy Jane Yolen so much. She writes relateable stories that fully entertain and she puts fantastic spins on age old stories. Aliera was such a wonderful character and was developed so well in just these short 160 pages. My one complaint about the book would maybe be that I wish the other characters would’ve been developed a bit more too. But there really aren’t that many secondary characters. The ending just felt quite rushed. I would’ve liked to see things fleshed out more.

But overall I really enjoyed this one. It’s hard to talk about it too much without giving the whole book away. I learned a lot about fencing in this one too which is really neat!! Aliera herself is a fantastic fencer, and really just an awesome person despite what she thinks of herself. She’s colorblind and Yolen with the help of illustrator Mike Cavallaro portrays most of the book in black and white to show this until the later chapters.

I’d recommend this one for young and old! Its one of those books that you could buy for the whole family and just pass it around to everyone. Gladly putting this one on the keeper shelves.

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14 Responses

  1. Jane Yolen AND a graphic? Sold. 😛

  2. I love that panel. Guess what’s going on my TBR…

    I’ve never read Jane Yolen either.

  3. Christina, Yep!! It’s a good one 😀 Enjoy!!

    Amanda, I think you’ll enjoy it! Like I said, it’s a bit odd until the end..when it gets really odd…but then it suddenly makes sense :p So hang in there!

  4. I adore Yolen – her book on writing, Take Joy, is a favorite, and The Devil’s Arithmetic is one of the best YA historical fictions out there!

  5. Carrie, :O I haven’t heard of either one of those!! Now I have two books to go onto my wishlist!!! Yay :/ LOL

  6. I quite enjoyed the young Merlin trilogy by Yolen. This one looks fun. Guess what’s going on my TBR pile.

    Oh my. There seems to be a theme developing in this comment thread!

  7. Looks good. I’ve only read one book by Jane Yolen and it was more like a compilation of stories for mothers and daughters (I think she edited it with her daughter). Other than I’ve heard good things about her, I still couldn’t get past the first few pages of two other books of hers that I own. Could be my reading moods.

  8. I like what I have read by her so far. You should definitely read Briar Rose, definitely my favourite so far. I will look out for this one next.

  9. I didn’t know you had this one!!! I bought it a month or so ago, thinking that not only I would enjoy it, but that Gray would as well. You know, because of the fencing. But wow!!! It sounds like it REALLY is something he needs to read–I had no idea about the social anxiety angle! Sheesh–did she write this book just for him?!!

    Thanks for the great review, Chris! And I shall go add this immediately to you list. 😀

  10. Ditto Christina “Jane Yolen AND a graphic? Sold!”

    Get Briar Rose by Jane Yolen. It’s a fantastic retelling of Sleeping Beauty set during the Holocaust. It has haunted me for years. Beautiful fairy tale at it’s best.

  11. Jane Yolen is so diverse! I never heard of this book before, and didn’t know she’d written anything in a graphic format! I’m going to look for this one (but sadly doubt my library has it).

  12. Darren, I’ve heard nothing but good stuff about the Young Merlin trilogy. I really need to check that one out! Must do that soon! I so hope you read this one 😀

    Lightheaded, I know what you mean about reading moods…I have to be in the right mood too to enjoy certain authors. This is really a good one though!

    Rhinoa, Hey you 🙂 I’ve heard great things about Briar Rose…between you and Heather, I really should get to that one!

    Debi, Like I told you in the email, the sooner the better for Gray to read this one!! I think he’s going to love it. It’s right up his alley. I adored it in the end. I was thinking the same thing…she must have written this for Gray :p

    Heather, You make Briar Rose sound irresistible! I’m going to see if I can find a copy over on Paperback Swap.

    Jeane, She really is…she’s done so much! I think this is her first graphic novel and it just came out in May. Really good!

  13. @ Chris, of you definitely should, I think you’d love it. Interesting take on the mythology as well! 😀

  14. […] See also:Stuff As Dreams Are Made On… […]

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