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Foiled Paperback – April 13, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 6 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 460L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: First Second; 1 edition (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596432799
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596432796
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up—The chapters in this clever graphic novel follow the terms of a fencing match, from "Engagement" to "Disengagement," with successive stages in between. Most of the illustrations are done in two tones as Aliera Carstairs makes it through her humdrum days in high school, where she doesn't fit in. Color begins to appear when she puts on her fencing mask at Grand Central Station and the fantasy begins. Illustrations complement the text well, with larger pictures reflecting the character's situation and feelings. After meeting her date and admitting to seeing ogres and dragons when wearing her mask, he thinks she is crazy, but a wild adventure ensues. She loses her weapon but it is returned by a fairylike creature who tells her that the foil her mother purchased at a tag sale is the source of her powers, and she is the defender and now part of a world called Helfdon. The ending will leave readers anxiously awaiting the second installment in the series.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Aliera may have listened too well to her fencing coach’s advice: “You must always protect your heart.” Besting competitors twice her age in tournaments, and keeping to a strict routine of fencing practice, homework, and role-playing games, Aliera is a loner and likes it that way—until she becomes lab partners with the cutest boy in school. She initially resists his charms but is won over when he asks for a date. Turns out her new ruby-handled foil is the key to his interest in her, and to the yet-unseen magical dimension she must keep in balance. Yolen’s first foray into the graphic format is a success precisely because she incorporates the best weapon in her arsenal—fantasy. In Aliera she has created a strong, conflicted, and relatable girl hero who wields her wariness for protection. Cavallaro’s artwork suits Aliera’s monochrome existence, but bursts to life when she finally sees (in color!) the faerie beasties cheering her on. The explanation and source of Aliera’s status as a protector of worlds will have to wait for further volumes to be revealed. Grades 6-10. --Courtney Jones

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Customer Reviews

Seeing that she had written a graphic novel I was so excited to read this.
Nicola Mansfield
Those who say that this feels like the beginning of something are absolutely right.
R. Pylman
Aliera is a strong female character who is not afraid to show her strength.
Cynthia Hudson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Pylman on April 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
Those who say that this feels like the beginning of something are absolutely right. It feels very much like the first tankoban volume of a manga series, and I hope that's exactly what it is. The heroine is strong and likable, and the story moves right into making her ready to deal with the challenges that any manga reader knows are coming.

It's Shojo manga with an American / European fantasy twist, and that rocks my small, self-centered world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Screenwriter on April 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
most readers, especially fencers, will enjoy this comic book, though I agree with reviewer Pam T that this reads like the first part of a series and that the adventure doesn't really start yet in this installment.
another way to put it: this comic doesn't really have much of a middle or end, but rather just a beginning - a cool beginning.

not quite for those parents who want something strictly G-rated.
as always, parents should pre-read before giving to their kids.

the protagonist is a foilist. epee is not mentioned and saber is dissed, but in a way, I think, that sabreurs will not find off-putting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By wackyseester on September 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In classic Jane Yolen style, a square peg heroine finds out that while she always knew she was different, she never knew just *how* different.

The good news: even readers who were not previously fans of Yolen's work will enjoy her first venture into the world of graphic novels. Heroine you can respect? Check. No vampires? Check.

The bad news: having been introduced to a great new heroine and fun story, everyone must now grit their teeth upon the realization that we now have to wait for the NEXT issue to be released.

It can't come too soon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Mansfield on June 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
Reason for Reading: Jane Yolen is a wonderful author, so versatile! though I am partial to her mythological/folk tales works. Seeing that she had written a graphic novel I was so excited to read this.

Aliera Carstairs is a loner who doesn't fit in at school with any of the cliques; she doesn't even stand out enough to get picked on by anybody. She's rather a broody thing but she does have one passion and that is fencing. Everyday after school she goes to fencing class and is told she is very good and can go "far", which means The Nationals. Aliera has a rather strange practice fencing foil that her mother picked up for her at a Chinese lady's tag sale for $2. Not your typical foil, this one has a great big fake jewel wonder glued (she's tried to remove it) stuck to the end of the handle. Whatever, fencing is an expensive sport.

Aliera is colourblind and the majority of the book has been drawn and coloured in black,white,and various greys going up to a bluish tint. This not only shows Aliera's colourless world but also her broody attitude. Aliera does have a secret dream, she plays this out in her imagination when she is fencing and when she plays RPG with her wheelchair bound cousin, it is here she becomes Xenda of Xenon, expert swordswoman.

Imagination meets reality when Aliera puts her fencing mask on in the subway and suddenly she can see colour but not from our world, from the world which lives parallel to ours which is full of fairies, dragons, strange creatures and dragons and a queen who tells her she is a Defender of her world and gives her her first mission.

I loved Foiled!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kellee M. on October 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
This graphic novel surprised me. When I looked at the cover, I thought it was going to be about a girl in ancient time who fenced. Then I read the flap and learned it is about a normal high school girl who fences for a hobby- AWESOME! But then as you read more, you learn that everything is not what it seems. You have to put the mask ON in this book to see everything for what it really is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GraphicNovelReporter.com on June 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
Aliera Carstairs' life is a series of routines: school and fencing practice during the week, fencing practice and gaming with her cousin Caroline on the weekends. She doesn't expect or, rather, doesn't dare hope for more than that. Until Avery Castle shows up at school--"Prince Charming all the way." She tries not to fall for him, but can't seem to help herself, and when he asks her on a date, it seems too good to be true. It's on their date, in Grand Central Station, that Aliera puts on her fencing mask and suddenly the world is a very different place, a world where Aliera just might be...important.

Just as Mike Carey, Marc Hempel, and Sonny Liew did with their terrific Re-Gifters (Minx), Yolen and Cavallaro take a girl who plays a tough sport and tell the story of a cute boy who throws her off her game. In both books, though, the girl finds the inner strength to be more than just boy-crazed. She focuses her energies just as she's been taught in her sport and emerges from her experience a champion. The difference is that Foiled is written by Jane Yolen, one of the grande dames of fantasy. So Aliera's experience isn't something that can be completely contained by the world we know. This is not immediately evident, though. The strong part of Foiled is that Yolen takes her time to set up who Aliera is. She's the narrator, so we are given a clear look inside her head. By the time things go sideways, we're as baffled and intrigued as she is. It takes a strong, feisty main character to engage an audience like that and Aliera is both, though it takes some convincing before she realizes it.

The secondary characters are mostly relegated to the sidelines in this tale, which seems to be the first of a potential series. But two of them stand out in their own way.
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