Review: Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer (Shirley and Jamila #1)

Title: Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer (Shirley and Jamila #1)
Author: Gillian Goerz
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Mystery, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Dial Books
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

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.


Jamila was going to be sent to science camp for the summer, until she met Shirley. Shirley’s mom wanted her to go to dance camp, but the girls realized they could enjoy their summer more if they convinced their moms to let them spend time together. While Jamila plays basketball, Shirley meets with various kids in the neighbourhood at the basketball court. One day, a boy tells Shirley that someone stole his backpack while he was at the pool. Shirley is a secret detective, solving local crimes. Jamila joins in on solving the mystery, forming a classic detective duo with Shirley.

Shirley and Jamila were like a modern Sherlock and Watson. Shirley was able to figure out where a person worked just by looking at them walk down the street, in a similar way to Sherlock Holmes. Jamila was the main narrator, like Watson, and was able to assist Shirley in her investigation. I liked this subtle nod to the classic detective.

This story was set in Toronto, though it wasn’t mentioned very much. There was the Toronto skyline on the cover and Jamila came from the Thorncliffe neighbourhood. There were a few small details on the pages, such as the Raptors posters on Jamila’s bedroom walls and the CBC sign on a lawn. These were cute little details that showed the Toronto setting.

Shirley and Jamila Save the Summer is a fun graphic novel mystery!

What to read next:

Cub by Cynthia L. Copeland

Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

Have you read Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

2 thoughts on “Review: Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer (Shirley and Jamila #1)”

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