Soria, Destiny. Fire with Fire. Clarion Books, 2021. 978-0-358-32973-2. $17.99. 432 p. Grades 7-12.
Dani and Eden are sisters, and they have a secret: they come from a long line of dragon hunters and have trained to become slayers since they were young girls. Dani doesn’t take her duties as a slayer as seriously as Eden, but when she comes across a dragon and they become soul bonded, everything Dani thought she knew about her family’s legacy changes in an instant. Although Dani has a change of heart, Eden does not, and instead becomes mixed up with the sorcerers who use magic from dragons to fuel their own powers. Suddenly, the sisters are enemies, and each is trying to save the other from what they believe is a deadly situation, not realizing there is a more dangerous enemy threatening to destroy them both.
THOUGHTS: This is one of the first contemporary dragon fantasies that I’ve read, and I love that the book’s setting is rural Tennessee rather than a fictional land or kingdom. It’s a nice change from the many high fantasy dragon series, and I think readers will enjoy the relationship and sibling rivalry between Dani and Eden. Although they are dragon slayers, they are still sisters, and looking out for one another comes before all else.
Fantasy Emily Hoffman, Conestoga Valley SD
Jeong, BonHyung. Kyle’s Little Sister. JY, 2021. 978-1-975-33589-2. $24.00. 207 p. Grades 4-7.
6th grader Grace and 8th grader Kyle just started a new year of middle school. Grace, an avid gamer who often feels awkward in social situations, has always struggled in her role as Kyle’s younger sister, since he is one of the most popular and athletic kids at school. Grace’s best friends, Amy and Jay, try to help her forget about living in her big brother’s shadow by organizing game nights and sleepovers, but soon boy-crazy Amy devises a match-making scheme that breaks up the three girls’ friendship in a devastating way. As Grace and her friends struggle to navigate school gossip, popularity contests, and the difficulties of growing up, Kyle begins to reach out to his sister and repair their tumultuous sibling relationship in a way that is realistic and heartwarming. A brief autobiographical sketch at the end of the book also introduces readers to the author/illustrator of the book and to her artistic writing process.
THOUGHTS: This graphic novel is perfect for fans of Reina Telgemar and Svetlana Chmakova. Middle schoolers, especially kids that are dealing with all the struggles of young adult friendships, will have no difficulty relating to Grace’s feelings and eagerly will devour this book to find out if the story’s characters find resolutions to their problems.
Graphic Novel Erin Faulkner, Cumberland Valley SD
Johnson, Varian, and Shannon Wright. Twins. Graphix, 2020. 978-1-338-23617-0. 249 p. $24.99. Grades 3-6.
Francine and Maureen are twins who have always been best friends, done the same activities, and had the same group of friends. But now that they are starting middle school, Francine (call her Fran, please) wants to come out from her sister’s shadow and be her own person. Unfortunately, Maureen wants the opposite. When both girls wind up running for class president, sibling rivalry steps up several notches and threatens to ruin any shred of relationship the girls have left. Once Fran confesses that the reason she wanted to create her own identity in middle school was to boost her self esteem after competing with her perfect sister for years, the girls’ relationship blossoms into a new, more mature sibling relationship.
THOUGHTS: I loved this graphic novel! Fans of Raina Telgemeier will flip over this new offering. I love that the characters are African American, but they could be any race and the story would be the exact same! Students need to see characters of other races that do not struggle because of their race.
Graphic Novel Krista Fitzpatrick Upper Dublin SD
Cooney, Caroline B. No Such Person. New York: Delacorte Press, 2015. 978-0-385-74291-7. 246 p. $17.99. Gr. 7-10.
Although Lander and Miranda Allerdon are sisters, they are as different as night and day. Lander is an overachiever who is headed to medical school in the fall, while Miranda is always trying new hobbies but never mastering any. When Lander falls in love with a handsome stranger, Miranda worries that her sister’s new love interest might be dangerous. It is not long before Lander goes out on a date and is arrested and charged with murder. Although all signs point to Lander’s guilt, Miranda is determined to expose the real murderer and prove her sister’s innocence. A murder mystery full of suspense, the action picks up in the very first chapter of the book and does not stop until the mystery is solved. THOUGHTS: An excellent choice for mystery fans and/or reluctant readers, this quick and easy read also deals realistically with sibling rivalry in a way that will be relatable to junior high and high school students living in an older sibling’s shadow.
Mystery Julie Ritter, Montoursville Area High School