Review by Cadence Chen, 17
Dragonfly Girl By Marti Leimbach
Kira Adams is failing school. While she may be a genius when it comes to math and science, she’s definitely not doing so hot in her other subjects. Combined with the relentless bullying at school and her sick mom with debts piling up at home, she’s under a lot of pressure. But everything seems to be looking up when she wins a prestigious science contest with a big cash reward and an offer to work at a top of the line science research facility with Dr. Munn, a renowned researcher. However, one late night at the lab, Kira accidentally brings a dead rat back to life. This incident pushes her into the limelight of the public while simultaneously revealing a darker, more sinister side to the science she loves so dearly.
Dragonfly Girl hits the ground running. There’s no unnecessary dialogue, the world-building is minimal since it takes place in contemporary times, and conflicts and problems are introduced in simple, understandable ways. The beginning seems to suggest that Dragonfly Girl is going to be a typical coming-of-age story. However, towards the end of the book, the author completely shatters that image, and a more sinister storyline is introduced, filled with illegal dealings, kidnappings, and missing kid geniuses. While it was a surprising plot twist, it was set up very nicely with hints of shady characters and whispers of dark organizations right from the beginning. The only issue with this plot twist was that it happened too late in the story, making it feel like a last-minute add-on. The majority of the story is about Kira going through her everyday life, and while this is important, I expected it to be more significant to her development. Most of her development happened after the plot twist, making it feel rushed and not well thought out. However, if her character had begun developing while she was working at Dr. Munn’s lab, it would have felt more believable. Not only that, but the ending of the story felt very abrupt and unsatisfying as there were a lot of unresolved conflicts. The ending could have worked nicely as a cliffhanger if Dragonfly Girl was a series. However, as a stand-alone book, it felt sloppy. Ultimately, while the plot was interesting, the issues with pacing and messy character development made it a less enjoyable read.
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