Little Girls by Nicholas Aflleje and Sarah DeLaine

A young middle-school-aged expat named Sam moves with her father to Ethiopia and befriends a local girl named Lielet. They bond over being social outcasts: Sam as a white outsider and Lielet as a tomboy, and their interest in the local legend of the Kerit, a brain-eating monster that comes in the night. After several unexplained deaths, the two decide to investigate the beast that has been turning the hyena population against the rest of food chain. Sam and Lielet will be witness to a fight that no person has ever been.

Everything about this graphic novel was flat, the characters, the plot, and the artwork. There’s no background information about either of the main characters to really develop the kind of connection necessary for me to really care. Their relationship does build in the course of their time together, but I wanted to know more. The artwork is stilted and without any real depth or color, it’s a dull and uses bland palette.

I was expecting more from this book. The blurb compared it to Drnaso’s Sabrina, but for the middle grade set, so I’m willing to in some ways give this the benefit of the doubt because I’m not the target audience. There may be some horror there or some fear-inducing tension, but I did not find any. And was there a try at analogy, a parallel between the animal and the human world? I have no idea…

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