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Shirley and Jamila: Big Fall

For fans of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, this MG graphic novel is the PERFECT modern retelling!

Genre: MG Graphic novel

Ages: 8-12

Available: my amazon page- link in bio

Islamic Screening: mentions of breaking and entering, but pretty clean overall!

Shirley and Jamila are backkk in the second installment of this series (read my review of the first book too)! The gorgeous illustrations, entertaining writing, and fun story are once again fabulous and I really loved reading this book.

Shirley is getting ready for the first day of school. She is excited she already knows Shirley from school, but makes a new friend at the rec center too: Seena! Seena is an Afghani girl, loves basketball too, and the girls connect with their diverse backgrounds and love of sports. Jamila is concerned about balancing having two different friends, but Seena and her are busy playing basketball, and her and Shirley are busy solving a new case: this time about the school bully Chuck. Chuck collects dirt on everyone in school and blackmails them, and Shirley is out to stop him.

Together, Shirley and Jamila break into his house to steal all the evidence he has against other kids…but what happens will be a huge surprise to the reader…and Jamila!

Shirley is true to Sherlock form, with her wit, her smart way of talking, and her intuition at solving mysteries! I just loved how she is portrayed as a caring friend, and how Jamila balances their friendship so well with her street smarts and kindness!

Jamila’s mother wears (cultural style) hijab, cooks Nihari, and is a caring overprotective Desi mom. Jamila mentions her love and relationship of her immigrant mom, an improvement of their culture clashes in the first book. I found this relatable and done well. It is not the focus of the story, and Jamila is very much a normal, adventurous, and likeable character.

I enjoyed the themes of friendship, balancing friends, not being a bully, and Robin Hood-esque morality (although this in my opinion could have been morally corrected: both in justifying breaking and entering and the way Shirley uses Grace)

Overall, a fun read, and one my kids enjoyed!

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