Shadow of the Batgirl

Sarah Kuhn

Book - 2020

"Cassandra Cain, teenage assassin, isn't exactly Batgirl material...yet. Will she step out of the shadows and overcome her greatest obstacle--that voice inside her head telling her she can never be a hero? Lucky for Cass, she won't have to defy her destiny alone. With the help of her new mentors, noodle shop owner Jackie Fujikawa Yoneyama and a librarian named Barbara Gordon, she'll attempt to answer this question the only way she knows how: learning everything she possibly about her favorite hero. The only problem is that Batgirl hasn't been seen in Gotham for years...Can Cass find Batgirl before her father destroys the world she has grown to love? Or will shehave to take on a heroic mantle of her very own?"--Page [4] of cover.

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DC graphic novels for young adults.
Graphic novels
Comics (Graphic works)
Superhero comics
Burbank, CA : DC Comics [2020]
Item Description
"Batgirl based on characters created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger."--Title page.
Physical Description
205 pages : chiefly color illustrations ; 23 cm
Ages 13-17
Main Author
Sarah Kuhn (writer)
Other Authors
Nicole Goux (artist), Cris Peter (colourist), Janice Chiang (letterer), Saida Temofonte
Review by Booklist Review

Trained from birth to be a perfect weapon, Cassandra Cain dispatches her father's enemies with ghastly snaps, cracks, and crunches. Though her highly specialized training has left her with only the barest grasp of spoken language, she reads the love and regret in the eyes of her last victim as he croaks a farewell to his own beloved child, and so Cassandra goes on the run. She winds up hiding out in a Gotham City library, where she starts developing her language skills and hears the legend of Batgirl, as told by none other than former Batgirl Barbara Gordon. Struggling to open up, Cass eventually accepts Barbara, as well as Jackie, the tough but motherly owner of the neighborhood noodle shop, as her surrogate family. With their help, she dons a DIY costume and brings Batgirl back to the streets, starting with a crusade against dodgy library patrons, but eventually she confronts her own past in the form of her father and his assassins. There's an inexhaustible supply of stories about choosing a path or identity in YA literature, but Kuhn deepens the theme and her character by centering her plot on Cass' confused search for both human connection and heroic ideals. Add Goux's lean, manga-inflected art with its rollicking, parkour-inspired action sequences, and you've got a top-tier entry in DC's YA graphic novel line.--Jesse Karp Copyright 2020 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

After a botched job, teenage assassin Cassandra Cain is on the run in Gotham City with no resources, little spoken language, and extremely limited knowledge of the world. Luckily, she finds a safe haven in gruff-yet-kind restaurant owner Jacqueline "Jackie" Fujikawa Yoneyama, as well as the Gotham Public Library. Teaching herself to speak and read, Cassandra observes librarian Barbara Gordon's story times and learns about the mysterious Batgirl, who once protected the city before vanishing years ago. Modeling herself on Batgirl, Cassandra decides to become a hero and defend the library and the city--but first, she must break free of her past. Cassandra's deadly skill set and hyperintuitive awareness of her surroundings, juxtaposed against her emotional naïveté, create an immediately endearing character. The diverse supporting cast presents compelling models of confidence and kindness, drawn with detailed individuality by Goux, who also depicts the main setting, the library, with grandeur and personality. While the plot is slight and the world is disconnected from other tales within the Batman universe, the collaborators' intimate scale ultimately benefits this character-driven story. Ages 13--17. (Feb.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up--Teenage assassin Cassandra Cain can't remember anything--who she is, where she came from, even how to speak. As she finishes off a man in the alleys of Gotham City, her dying victim's last words, about his daughter, trigger something in her. Overwhelmed, she finds refuge in the public library. Spying on a librarian's storytime, she learns to talk again and discovers that Gotham's hero Batgirl has gone missing and a crime wave has broken out. But the librarian's tales of Batgirl motivate Cassandra to take her past--and future--into her own hands and become the hero she was meant to be. Kuhn's reinterpretation of Batgirl is a tender, moving addition to DC's series of superhero origin stories. Sympathetic characters, such as children's librarian Barbara and local ramen chef Jackie, soften the sinister, Jason Bourne--inspired plot. While Cassandra's romance with the library intern feels tacked on, kind and literary Erik is a gentle foil for the skilled warrior. Goux's frenetic, jagged art depicts a gritty, menacing Gotham, though the vast library is a soothing sanctuary. Scenes of Cassandra leaping around the stacks and kicking over piles of books joyfully subvert the idea that a library should be a quiet, orderly place. VERDICT Kuhn's winning tale of a budding superhero attempting to forge a path ahead will resonate with teens wrestling with their own identities.--Anna Murphy, Berkeley Carroll School, Brooklyn

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

The story behind Batgirl.Cassandra Cain is trained to kill. Raised by a criminal mastermind, she knows only how to fight and execute. One day she freezes in the face of one victim's desperation for her to pass on a message to his daughter. Not wanting to return home, she is found on the streets by noodle shop owner Jackie Fujikawa Yoneyama, who gives her a free meal. Cassandra also finds solace in the Gotham Public Library, where, having been raised with little conversation, she learns to comprehend language by listening to librarian Barbara's storytimes about Batgirl. Fascinated, Cassandra begins to understand her life before, with her villain of a father, and to envision the life she wants to lead in the future, as a hero. This is an excellent introduction to Cassandra's backstory and her journey to becoming Batgirl. The detailed illustrations and meticulous coloring add emotion and effectively convey movement. Dark memories and moments are shrouded in blue and purple while Cassandra's safe, comforting spells are brightened by shades of yellow and orange. Cassandra's sweet, touching story includes themes of self-discovery, relationships, family, and personal choices, and there's enough action to keep readers interested. The cast of characters is diverse in race and ability; Cassandra has mutism, she and Jackie are Asian, and red-haired Barbara uses a wheelchair.Without a shadow of a doubt, readers will enjoy this hero's backstory. (Graphic novel. 12-17) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.