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  Library Journal Review

Aliera, a nationals-bound fencing champion, ignores her instructor's warning to "protect her heart" when she falls for Avery Castle, the handsomest boy in school. On their first and only date, she dons her fencing mask, and Grand Central Station comes to magical life before her eyes. Only then does Aliera learn that Avery is not at all what he seems and that the real object of his affection is the practice foil her mother picked up at a tag sale. Why It Is for Us: Yolen's fantastical tale makes great use of the graphic format. Aliera's monotone world springs to vibrant life in the story's last half. On learning that she is a Defender of this strange new universe, Aliera's reaction is half befuddlement and half "bring it on"-an excellent reminder that girls just want to have fun...with swords.-Angelina Benedetti, "35 Going on 13," BookSmack! 7/15/2010 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

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.--Jones, Courtney Copyright 2010 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

Veteran fantasist Yolen introduces the utterly charming and sassy Aliera, a quirky tenth-grade loner who's both color-blind and an expert fencer, in this charming graphic novel. Aliera slinks her way through high school, focusing on fencing practice, reading and engaging in role-playing games with her cousin. When hunky Avery Castle arrives at her school, all the girls are immediately smitten, and Aliera also falls for Avery's good looks and charm, though she tries to downplay her feelings for him. An odd turn of events throws Aliera's routine off balance, and everything in her life she knew to be realfrom a practice foil her mother bought her at a tag sale to the lothario Avery to the entire world as she knew itis suddenly not what it appears to be. This fantastic change brings color into her life, and the drab grays that wash over Cavallaro's panels now burst with vibrantly hued blasts. An enchanting tale, with hints of a possible continuance. For fantasy lovers, this is an absolute must-read. (Graphic fantasy. 12 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
<p>A quirky, fast-paced urban fantasy by esteemed author Jane Yolen</p> <p>Aliera Carstairs just doesn't fit in. She's always front and center at the fencing studio, but at school she's invisible. And she's fine with that . . . until Avery Castle walks into her first period biology class. Avery may seem perfect now, but will he end up becoming her Prince Charming or just a toad?</p>
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