Girl on Fire

HarperAlley. Mar. 2022. 224p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063029569.
Gr 8 Up–In singer Keys’s debut graphic novel, super smart Lolo Wright lives in the Monroe Housing Projects in Brooklyn with her older brother James, their dad Billy, and their maternal grandmother. A series of strange headaches and visions precedes the emergence of superpowers: when James is attacked by police in a case of mistaken identity, Lolo, who is Black, leaps to his defense. Her powers are connected in some way to Michael “Runt” Warner, a short, muscular Black boy who goes to work for white drug dealer Skin. Skin has seen Lolo’s powers on a cell phone video and wants her to work for him, too, but Lolo and her dad refuse his “protection”; as Lolo’s best friend Nia says, “What’s the point of having powers if you don’t use them for a good cause?” Lolo does the right thing even when it’s hard, and she knows that her true superpower is her voice. Skin, his associates, and their variety of weapons are ominous and frightening; in violent fight scenes, panels are often split on the diagonal to enhance the feeling of danger. But there are heartfelt and funny scenes, too, and one beautiful page shows the Monroe Houses from below, with a different scene in each lighted window and Lolo on the roof above it all, trying to figure it out.
VERDICT The origin of Lolo’s powers may be a little fuzzy, but #BlackGirlMagic meets Miles Morales makes this is a recommended choice for all teen graphic novel collections.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing