Graphic Novel Review: Duel written by Jessixa Bagley, illustrated by Aaron Bagley

Duel written by Jessixa Bagley, illustrated by Aaron Bagley. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023. 9781534496545. 316pp. including an author’s note by Jessixa, photos of her family and her fencing, and a look at the art process Aaron used to create the book.

It’s Lucy’s first day at Butler Middle School, and she’s worried about a lot of things but none more than running into her sister Gigi, an eighth grader and the top fencer on the school’s team. In the cafeteria their paths cross, Gigi is mean and trips Lucy, and so Lucy pulls out her foil and challenges Gigi to a duel. They both end up in the principal’s office. Their mother is called in. And soon the entire school is buzzing, waiting to see the sisters have their bout. (Their father taught them both to fence, and they haven’t had a good relationship since he died a few years ago. Their mother is struggling and has been dealing with her own grief.))

Each chapter opens with a marked-up page from a book on fencing that explains the sport a bit. These pages are some of my favorites, though I loved everything about this book. (I never fenced, but once upon a time I didn’t get along well with one of my own sisters…)


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