Fight Like a Girl: Learning Curve

illus. by Soo Lee. 128p. Action Lab. 2015. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781632290960.
Gr 8 Up—A jury of nine gods grants Amarosa the chance to enter the Wishing Well. If she finishes nine trials, she will win her wish: to save her terminally ill brother. There are numerous fight scenes but, in the end, the challenges become symbols for Amarosa's personal struggles. Readers may skim over the soul-searching and focus on the action. The illustrations are drawn in an epic superhero style, but simple, bold lines give them less detail and more immediacy. Amarosa, who is African American, is a compelling protagonist. She is witty, strong, and as gruffly brave as Katniss Everdeen. Readers of "The Hunger Games" (Scholastic) may also enjoy the satirical allusions to reality television: "fans" are following Amarosa's progress, and a shrill, over-styled host emcees. The ending, in which Amarosa realizes that all she needs to do is "be me," is a little pat, but more subtlety may come in the next installment.
VERDICT Bogged down at times with too much "meaning," this graphic novel nevertheless has enough humor and action to appeal to fans of superhero comics, mythology, and charismatic female protagonists.

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