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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

In The City on the Other Side, a young girl stumbles into a pitched war between two fairy kingdoms, and the fate of San Francisco itself hangs in the balance! Sheltered within her high-society world, Isabel plays the part of a perfectly proper little girl?she’s quiet, well-behaved, and she keeps her dresses spotlessly clean. She’s certainly not the kind of girl who goes on adventures. But that all changes when Isabel breaches an invisible barrier and steps into another world. She discovers a city not unlike her own, but magical and dangerous. Here, war rages between the fairies of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Only Isabel, with the help of a magical necklace and a few new friends, stands a chance of ending the war before it destroys the fairy world, and her own. From Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson comes a colorful fantasy graphic novel set in early twentieth century San Francisco.…

The City on the Other Side

by Mairghread Scott

Overall Book Review:

The City on the Other Side is an entertaining graphic novel by collaborators Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson. This talented duo does a great job of speaking to their audience through color, fantasy, and great dialogue. Particularly enjoyable are several beautifully-colored two-page spreads depicting San Francisco’s Chinatown inhabited with creatures from another dimension and scenes from a fantastical land. 

Although the artwork is gorgeous and the writing is well executed, the story may be a little difficult to follow, especially for its intended younger audience. The reviewer gets the feeling there’s just too much story here for one book. And, while the way the children learn to thrive without their parents could be empowering, it might also be a little scary or disturbing. However, with perseverance and a little help, even young readers will be able to connect with the likeable protagonists and their fantastical friends. 

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by First Second Books

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  A non-human character is hit in the head with no injuries; a non-human character is found with arrows protruding from the back, some gore, injuries are not fatal; in the aftermath of an earthquake, several white mounds are seen–it’s understood that they are bodies of the dead covered with sheets; in an extended scene (6 pgs), characters engage in hand-to-hand combat–no gore, no serious injury; a character is threatened at sword point; in a black and white flashback, a non-human character is seen with her chest cut open–no gore; later, the same character is seen with the same opened chest as she is restored to health; children fight with a non-human character and are threatened, no injuries; in an extended scene (6 pgs), non-human characters swordfight–one falls to his death–no gore.

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

Parental neglect, loss of family members, racism, war, natural disaster, poverty.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. My mother would often find me curled up in a corner, avoiding chores with a book–or two. When I was growing up, there wasn’t a large selection of YA books. I had children’s books and adult literature to choose from. I’ve come to love YA fiction as an adult and read almost nothing else when I read for pleasure–any genre will do.