Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

This fun graphic novel has a little "Harriet the Spy" feeling and is perfect for the summer! Jamila is a little sister who loves basketball, but she's new to the neighborhood and her parents are pretty protective. She meets Shirley at a yard sale-- definitely a quirky kid! Their moms decide to give them some limited freedom together since they're both 10-- and moms want each to have a friend. They start off kind of using each other: Jamila just wants to play basketball while Shirley wants to be able to consult with her investigation clients. But when a boy comes to Shirley because he and his sister not only lost his pet gecko (which had been in his stolen backpack) and got kicked out of the community pool, curiosity and teamwork really kick in. 
The investigation winds up bringing together some misunderstood and lonely kids in lovely ways. 
Reading this is like running through a sprinkler and getting a popsicle-- invigorating and comforting summertime encapsulated. 


— From Middle Grade Book Recommendations


This middle-grade graphic novel for fans of Roller Girl and Smile introduces Jamila and Shirley, two unlikely friends who save each other's summers while solving their neighborhood's biggest mysteries.

Jamila Waheed is staring down a lonely summer in a new neighborhood--until she meets Shirley Bones. Sure, Shirley's a little strange, but both girls need a new plan for the summer, and they might as well become friends.

Then this kid Oliver shows up begging for Shirley's help. His pet gecko has disappeared, and he's sure it was stolen! That's when Jamila discovers Shirley's secret: She's the neighborhood's best kid detective, and she's on the case. When Jamila discovers she's got some detective skills of her own, a crime-solving partnership is born.

The mystery of the missing gecko turns Shirley and Jamila's summer upside down. And when their partnership hits a rough patch, they have to work together to solve the greatest mystery of all: What it means to be a friend.

About the Author

Gillian Goerz is a Canadian illustrator, writer, and cartoonist. Her illustrations can be found in books such as Ryan North's choosable path adventures To Be or Not to Be and Romeo and/or Juliet. Her comics have been seen in The Walrus, Descant Magazine, and the Humber Literary Review with frequent collaborator and award-winning author Mariko Tamaki. CBC Books named Gillian's autobiographical comic "a highlight" of the anthology The Secret Loves of Geek Girls. She lives in Toronto, Canada.

Praise For…

Praise for Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer

"Goerz's easy, comic style, reminiscent of the art in Raina Telgemeier's books, brings her characters to life. . . . The novel deepens as the girls discovers another surprising truth: Everyone deserves a chance to have his or her story heard, even the guilty. With a sly nod to the original Holmes and Watson, Shirley and Jamila use their wits to connect, with each other and their community." —New York Times Book Review

★ “Goerz is a master of character development, making no one into a villain and no one into a saint and giving each a fascinating role to play. . . . An action-packed graphic novel about finding—and forgiving—our closest friends.” —Kirkus, starred review

★ "Goerz’s simple, expressive style lends itself well to a heartwarming whodunit that is, at its core, a story of friendship with a wonderfully inclusive cast." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This well-executed graphic novel strikes a balance between a focus on meaningful relationships and just plain fun; it’s a great choice for fans of both the ‘Cam ­Jansen’ books and Raina Telgemeier.” —School Library Journal

“What unfolds [in Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer] is not just a mystery about a missing gecko, but a well-observed story about the need for friendship and the many ways it can unfold.” ­—The Virginian-Pilot
“Good mysteries are shockingly difficult to write. That’s why I’m so thrilled to encounter Gillian Goerz’s new ‘Shirley and Jamila’ series. Firmly rooted in reality, the book tips its hat low to Sherlock Holmes but maintains an originality entirely of its own.” —Betsy Bird, SLJ’s A Fuse 8 Production

Product Details
ISBN: 9780525552864
ISBN-10: 0525552863
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: July 14th, 2020
Pages: 224