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by Mike  Carey
Illustrated by Sonny Liew and Marc Hempel

Published by Minx, 2007
176 pages
ISBN: 140120371X

Ages 10-14

Jen Dik Seong, aka “Dixie,” has a big crush on Adam, another student in her hapkido class. Dixie is good at the martial art—so good, in fact, that her dad is hopeful her performance in an upcoming city tournament will impress a local Korean businessman, who in turn will offer him a business loan. Dixie’s family has struggled financially ever since her dad’s market was burned down in the Los Angeles riots. Her family has scraped together the tournament’s $100 entrance fee, but in a moment of what seems like inspiration, Dixie spends the money on an extravagant gift for Adam’s birthday, certain it will get him to notice her in a whole new way. Dixie gets into the tournament by winning a street competition and earning a free spot. In the meantime, she’s met Dillinger, a kid off the streets who is willing to offer her some competition tips and advice if she’s willing to take them. When Dixie makes it to the tournament final only to discover she’ll be fighting against Adam, her dreams, expectations, and desires all converge. Mike Carey, Sonny Liew, and Marc Hempel have collaborated on a winning graphic novel with a gutsy if sometimes misguided protagonist who discovers that what goes around comes around in more ways than one, making some things crystal clear in the process. Racial and economic issues explored in the narrative are seamlessly integrated as realities of Dixie’s life.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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