02 Feb Review: Duel
By Jessixa Bagley; illustrated by Aaron Bagley
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023
ISBN: 9781665941648 (paperback)
8 to 12 years old
Review K. Joan Harrison
This graphic novel will appeal to fans of Raina Telgemeier, because it has a real-life setting and elements from the life of the author, Jessixa Bagley. It is an engaging story of two sisters who have been fighting since the death of their father. The plot culminates in a fencing match between the sisters, with plenty of character development and self-reflection along the way. The internal voices of the characters are written in colour-coded inset boxes, and flashbacks are blue-hued. Each chapter starts with a page from a fencing manual, the topic of which relates to the plot and adds interest and knowledge. The main characters are biracial, with a white-presenting mother and flashbacks show the father, who appears black. Younger readers may find the topics of grief and forgiveness intense and complex, but the ending is heartwarming and hopeful. Recommended for libraries that serve children aged 8 to 12 years.