Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer (Paperback)
This middle-grade graphic novel for fans of Roller Girl and Smile introduces Jamila and Shirley, two unlikely friends who save each other's summers while solving their neighborhood's biggest mysteries.
Jamila Waheed is staring down a lonely summer in a new neighborhood--until she meets Shirley Bones. Sure, Shirley's a little strange, but both girls need a new plan for the summer, and they might as well become friends.
Then this kid Oliver shows up begging for Shirley's help. His pet gecko has disappeared, and he's sure it was stolen! That's when Jamila discovers Shirley's secret: She's the neighborhood's best kid detective, and she's on the case. When Jamila discovers she's got some detective skills of her own, a crime-solving partnership is born.
The mystery of the missing gecko turns Shirley and Jamila's summer upside down. And when their partnership hits a rough patch, they have to work together to solve the greatest mystery of all: What it means to be a friend.
About the Author
Gillian Goerz is a Canadian illustrator, writer, and cartoonist. Her illustrations can be found in books such as Ryan North's choosable path adventures To Be or Not to Be and Romeo and/or Juliet. Her comics have been seen in The Walrus, Descant Magazine, and the Humber Literary Review with frequent collaborator and award-winning author Mariko Tamaki. CBC Books named Gillian's autobiographical comic "a highlight" of the anthology The Secret Loves of Geek Girls. She lives in Toronto, Canada.
Praise for Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer
★ “Goerz is a master of character development, making no one into a villain and no one into a saint and giving each a fascinating role to play. . . . An action-packed graphic novel about finding—and forgiving—our closest friends.” —Kirkus, starred review
★ "Goerz’s simple, expressive style lends itself well to a heartwarming whodunit that is, at its core, a story of friendship with a wonderfully inclusive cast." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“This well-executed graphic novel strikes a balance between a focus on meaningful relationships and just plain fun; it’s a great choice for fans of both the ‘Cam Jansen’ books and Raina Telgemeier.” —School Library Journal
I enjoyed the book although it's not one I would have selected on my own. Especially for a debut novel I thought it was well done and engaging. I can't attest to the historical accuracy of the book's premise (yes, I know it's historical fiction). Over-all I would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy, entertaining read for beachside (when beaches reopen) or for a weekend of relaxation even if it's in your own backyard. There were moments where I thought the perspectives of the protagonist - Anita (The Woman in Red) - stemmed from our 21st century experiences as opposed to how the setting might have been perceived in the time period of the book, but this wasn't so distracting that it ruined the novel. On an entirely positive note, I would say that one place where most novels fail for me is the ending - too many novels are either entirely predictable or feel rushed and hurried as if trying to tie up all the loose ends. I was not expecting the outcome at the end of The Woman in Red!
Overall I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars . It was a respectable first novel from Diana Giovinazzo, with an engaging story line that was enjoyably uncomplicated yet intriguing, a likeable protagonist, and a surprise ending.
- reviewed by Diane, customer