Girl on Fire

Papercutz. (School for Extraterrestrial Girls: Bk. 1). Aug. 2020. 128p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781545804926; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781545804933.
Gr 6 Up–Tara, 15, has spent her whole life obeying the rules her parents have set for her. Convinced that if she follows their exacting regimen, she will accomplish great things. Tara gets her wish to become extraordinary when she inadvertently breaks her routine and spontaneously combusts during trigonometry. Tara realizes that nothing about her previous life was real and that she is in fact an alien. She’s faced with two choices: get shipped back to her home system, which up until now she never knew existed, or stay on Earth and join a school for extraterrestrial girls, where she will learn how to live with both her true self and the other races of the galaxy. The characters in this graphic novel are a joy, depicted with wings, tentacles, fur, scales, and other weird and wonderful features. The palette is appealing, with bold, saturated colors highlighting the student variety and simple yet futuristic backgrounds that allow character development to take center stage. A varied panel layout advances the action smoothly and creates lots of drama.
VERDICT An engaging title with an entertaining story and deft use of color and design. The clever premise will entice readers, who will eagerly anticipate future installments in this new series.

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