Graphic Novel Review: Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz

Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz. Dial, 2020. 9780525552864. 224pp.

Jamila’s mom wants to send her to science camp, but Jamila wants to spend the summer playing basketball at the court five blocks away. Her mom thinks that’s too far for her to go alone.

Shirley’s mom wants to send her daughter to dance camp. Shirley tells her she just wants to be able to go out in the daylight in their neighborhood.

The two ten-year-olds meet at a garage sale, and soon they come to an agreement with their moms: they can hang out at the basketball court together all summer. Shirley’s mom is delighted — her daughter has a hard time making friends. And it’s not hard to see why: she’s brilliant but uncommunicative. She’s also Sherlockian in her observations, which helps her solve kids’ problems and mysteries adults can’t or won’t help with.

Then a “big” case comes up. Someone stole Oliver’s lizard, Enoch, while he and his sister were swimming at the public pool. Shirley takes the case, even though it means violating the promises she and Jamila made to their moms. Trouble ensues, along with frustration on Jamila’s part because she wants to be part of solving the crime.

This is a great juvenile mystery and a beautifully crafted graphic novel with friendship at its heart. I’m hoping for several sequels.


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