Can friendship survive moving apart? Growing up? Changing interests? Fearless follows two middle schoolers’ adventures in growing up and finding a way to do so without growing completely apart.
Kara and Alice are best friends that always watch their favorite show, Shinpi Riders, together. When they aren’t watching Shinpi Riders, they’re dressing up and acting out the characters—that is, until Alice starts wanting to prepare for the big school year ahead of them. They’ll no longer be elementary school kids anymore; instead, they’ll be going to middle school for the first time as sixth graders. Or so they think. Alice, unexpectedly, is told that she’ll be moving two towns over.
With almost no notice to even get used to the thought of not having her best friend by her side anymore, Kara’s really upset with the whole situation. They promise to write to each other regularly, only it ends up being one-sided. Kara keeps writing to Alice, but never gets anything in response. After trying to call several times, and Alice is somehow never home, and never returns calls, Kara decides to take matters into her own hands. She sets off on her bicycle with her pet ferret to find Alice, and talk to her once and for all. However, she quickly runs into problems as she realizes she maybe didn’t prepare enough for unforeseen weather, helping out someone in need, and the possibility that both of them weren’t as excited about Shinpi Riders as she thought.
Illustrator (or sequential artist, as he describes himself) Zach Wilcox creates a fun, middle school-style graphic novel world. Characters have cute noses and large eyes. Backgrounds feature a lot of nature as the protagonist spends much of the story on her bicycle and having outdoor adventures. Action scenes, such as when showing Kara’s favorite show feature lots of color and words splashed across panels.
Overall, this is a good comic for middle schoolers. It’s an enjoyable story and an easy read. It isn’t overly suspenseful or hard to predict what will happen in the end, but the characters are relatable, and there’s humor along the journey. There are lessons of how friendships evolve over time as each child matures, starts learning more about themselves, and how they can each adapt to keep their friendship strong.
By Kenny Porter
Art by Zach Wilcox
Scholastic Graphix, 2021
Publisher Age Rating: 10-14
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11), Tween (10-13)