Review of Wires Crossed

Wires Crossed Wires Crossed
by Beth Fantaskey; illus. by ONeillJones
Middle School    Clarion/HarperCollins    240 pp.
4/24    9780358395447    $24.99
Paper ed.  9780358396215    $15.99
e-book ed.  9780063323711    $11.99

An enjoyable graphic novel about friendship, growing up, and all-things-engineering. Thirteen-year-old Mia is excited when her science-camp buddy, Tariq, transfers to her middle school. This turns quickly to anxiety when she discovers that her once-shy friend has blossomed into a cute, confident soccer star. Nevertheless, the two team up to compete in their school’s Science Olympics (the plan: design and build an articulated snake-bot). Tension builds as the competition approaches and Mia’s best friend, Addy, now hanging out with one of the mean girls, exerts pressure on Mia to act differently (“maybe you should try a little harder to fit in”) and to ask Tariq to the school dance. As Mia’s confidence wavers, her engineer grandmother reminds her that “some of the luckiest—and smartest—people never grow up” and that imagination and creativity can lead to innovation and problem-solving, especially when things don’t go as planned. The cartooning is easy to scan, with establishing shots providing context for subsequent panels that use simplified, color-filled backgrounds. The quirky cast, including a sci-fi-loving dad, coupon-cutting scientist mom, and an ant-obsessed sibling, add humor and liveliness to Fantaskey’s narrative, which is jam-packed with science references.

From the May/June 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elisa Gall

Elisa Gall is a teacher-librarian at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. 

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.