Fence tells the story of Nicholas Cox, a boy the reader soon learns is an amateur fencer with the dream of going pro.
He is illegitimate son of Robert Coste, a famous Olympic winning fencer whose other son, Jesse, is the number one ranked fencer in the world. Nicholas finds himself facing Seiji Katayama in his first fencing tournament, the stoic number two in the world. The two clash immediately and yet are thrust together again when they vie for positions on the varsity fencing team at Kings Row Boys School.
The secondary characters in this graphic novel are as rounded and likeable as our main protagonist, and his interactions with his classmates show the reader much about his character. I think this is a graphic novel suitable for those of all ages, but considering its focus on young male athletes of various ethnic and class backgrounds as well as varied sexual orientations, I think it would be a lovely recommendation for a young adult male. The varying personality types displayed by the characters makes it so the reader will easily find one of the boys to relate to, and the underdog story is one which everyone enjoys reading and getting behind.
I found myself loving this story. I often feel too old to be reading many young adult graphic novels, as they’re completely unrelateable for me now, but this felt fresh and interesting. The boys were all diverse without being unbelievable, and there was a nice blend of drama with high school coming of age. I also really enjoy that this concerned sports, but a sport rarely written about.
Overall I would absolutely recommend this to anyone and eagerly await the next release in January!
Author: C.S. Pacat
Three Descriptors: Diverse, Engaging, Coming of Age