Coming out of Black History Month and into Women’s History Month was the perfect timing for the release of this story with an African American and female lead character. So it was only natural for “Girl on Fire” to be the March review. This great graphic novel packed a lot of story into an easy-to-read and enjoyable format. It managed to create dynamic characters, relationships, and interactions without it feeling too dense. Overall, this fresh take on superhero stories is a quick and fun read that addresses serious issues through its overall lighthearted plot.
The main character is daughter, sister, and friend Lolo Wright, who is top of her class (and a year ahead) at Harriet Tubman High School in Brooklyn, New York. Living in the Monroe Projects with her brother, James, their single father, and their grandmother on their estranged mother’s side, she and her family have been working hard to save up to move to a house in the Rockaways. Lolo’s best friend, Nia, is always by her side, and stands up for her when other students at school give her a hard time. Meanwhile, on the other side of school, Michael “Runt” Warner is having his own hard time that sends him spiraling into a dangerous situation.
Unfortunately for Lolo and her family, a tangle with a local gang brings unlikely characters together and sends a wrench into their plans. At the same time, Lolo is discovering she has powers that she shares with some of the other people she soon gets to know one way or another. It’s only a matter of time before paths cross and strangers become allies – or enemies.
This graphic novel, written through the mindset of Alicia Keys’s popular song of the same name, promotes the strength of confidence, kindness, big dreams, and the dedication to pursue them. The character of Lolo embodies this “girl in fire” perfectly, being both strong and compassionate. She is the quintessential modern superhero.
I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a new take on superhero graphic novels that focus on the value of family, friends, and spreading positivity as much as physical strength and fighting ‘bad guys.’ It’s quick and easy to read, so it’s not too hard to get into or finish. And it definitely deserves a sequel.