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Review: ‘The City on the Other Side’

The City on the Other Side

Are you looking for an engrossing story? One that will take you to another world? Do you want to read about fantastical creatures? Wars? The imminent demise of planet Earth? That and more is all in this little graphic novel by Scott and Robinson.

The City on the Other Side
By Mairghread Scott. Robin Robinson
First Second Books. 2018. ISBN 9781250152558
HC, $24. 209pp.
Grades 5 and up

City on the Other SideThe kingdom of the Fairlies has two types of creatures, the Seelies and Unseelies. Each has their special role, but they often come into conflict with each other, and as this story opens, they are again at war. With their leader missing, the Seelies are particularly vulnerable and at the mercy of the ruthless Unseely leader. What’s more, unbeknownst to them, their war is putting the human race in harm’s way.

Isabel is a young human child, sent to live with her absent-minded father for the summer. She has been taught to be seen but not heard—and not to get dirty. Isabel is pulled behind the veil and meets a Seelie who is on a mission to deliver a necklace to Myorni. The Seelie is mortally wounded, but the necklace’s magic responds to Isabel and she naively accepts the duty to carry out the dangerous mission.

There are many exciting twists and turns in this adventure, and the story comes to a tidy and happy resolution. The bold colors and nuanced panels will engage readers.

The story uses the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake as its backdrop – the devastation caused by the war – but doesn’t really delve into the history of it. Isabella is Latino, but the story doesn’t really bring up Latino culture, just offers us a protagonist with that background.

This is a worthwhile investment for any library shelves and the title will continuously be read by someone.

Esther Keller About Esther Keller

Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. Her collection is also the model for all middle school libraries in NYC. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library, and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.

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