Foiled Book Poster Image




Girl fencer fights monsters in clever fantasy graphic novel.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Foiled provides basic information and vocabulary about the sport of fencing. It also draws heavily upon characters and concepts from Celtic folklore.

Positive messages

The characters in Foiled! are very focused on perseverance and loyalty. Aliera takes her fencing practice very seriously and is also devoted to her aunt and sister. Even her antagonist, the annoying Avery Castle, operates under a strict sense of loyalty.

Positive role models

Aliera Carstairs, the protagonist of Foiled, feels like an outsider at her high school but is a whiz with a fencing foil. She is an interesting mix of bravado and insecurity. Once she is thrust into the confusing world of magic, however, she proves to be especially brave and resourceful, ready to take on the responsibilities given to her.


There are a number of sword fights, but they are bloodless.


At the beginning of the book, Aliera has a crush on her lab partner, Avery Castle, but that attraction diminishes as she learns more about him.


There's some light swearing in Foiled -- a few instances each of "hell," "damn," and "bastard" -- that occurs mostly in fight scenes.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In one scene, two of Aliera's biology classmates state that they "need a drink" and "need a joint."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Foiled features a strong female protagonist who is a competitive fencer in this first volume of a series. There's fantasy swordplay with no bloodshed. Some strong language ("hell," "damn," "bastard") is spoken in fight scenes and in times of great stress.

Parents say

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What's the story?

Aliera Carstairs loves fencing with her teammates and fantasy role-playing games with her cousin. She also has a crush on her biology lab partner, Avery Castle. When Avery invites Aliera on her first date, the worlds of fencing and fantasy collide, with Aliera suddenly able to see the denizens of Faerie and use her magical foil to fight off the monsters who come after her.

Is it any good?


FOILED has a sharp young protagonist with an interesting (and still somewhat mysterious) backstory. Author Jane Yolen and artist Mike Cavallaro capture both Aliera's social awkwardness and expert athleticism. The shifts between fantasy and reality are handled with wit and energy. Unfortunately, this first volume is a lot of setup without much payoff yet. Nevertheless, Foiled is an engaging opener and promises more enjoyable complications to come in subsequent volumes, including the next one, Curses! Foiled Again.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether female athletes given the same level of respect as their male counterparts. Are some sports regarded as "girly" and others as more masculine?

  • What's fun about reading graphic novels? How are the illustrations in panel sequences effective in moving the story forward?

  •  Why is the "secret hero" such a powerful trope, both in folklore and in popular culture?

Book details

Author:Jane Yolen
Illustrator:Mike Cavallaro
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Princesses and fairies, Sports and martial arts, Adventures, Fairy tales, Great girl role models, High school, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:First Second
Publication date:April 13, 2010
Number of pages:160
Publisher's recommended age(s):11 - 17
Available on:Paperback

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Teen, 13 years old Written byAlejandro0000000000d September 26, 2016
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