2008: 113. The Plain Janes

“Metro city.  Last spring.

When it happened, I fell.

There was a pop and there was nothing.”

The Plain Janes, Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rigg

This a young adult graphic novel that I grabbed at the library because I liked the cover (it comes from the “minx” imprint at D.C. Comics - how fun is that??).  It is the story of Jane - whose family has left the Metro City after a 9/11 type attack in which Jane herself was injured, and her parents decide that they’ll be safer in a small suburban town.  Jane, who has already begin to change her whole perspective after her experience - from the cliched (cutting off all her hair and dying it black) to the more real (becoming more of an artist, keeping in touch with a fellow victim who is in a coma), is miserable in her new school.  She doesn’t fit in, she’s lonely and she can’t handle her parents’ misery/paranoia, either.  But she perseveres, making friends with three other girls named Jane (well, Jane, Jayne and Polly Jane), and convincing them to become involved in a radical idea - a secret art club called P.L.A.I.N. (people loving art in neighborhoods).  But when people in town overreact to their hijinks, they need to decide whether PLAIN is worth it, and just how much civil disobedience they wish to participate in.

I actually really enjoyed the book, even if it is clearly intended for a younger audience.  The art is charming, and the story (if a little didactic) makes some good points about freedom versus security, as well as understanding others (even the popular people have some depth).  My only complaint was that it felt a bit slight in the ending department, though it may be that there are more PLAIN Jane books coming - one of my problems with graphic novels is that they are often somewhat open ended because more are coming down the line, but because I am too cheap to actually buy graphic novels, and because the library isn’t rigorous about buying whole series, I never really find out what happens in the end.  But, that is my issue, and if you are interested in the medium (especially if you know a young girl who wants to learn more about graphic novels, which I think might be an under served market) this is a pretty good read.

Date/Place Completed: 8/28/08; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Graphic Novel; Library Book; Young Adult

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017