Tuesday, March 4, 2008

YA Review: Cecil Castellucci's "The Plain Janes" (rated 4 stars)

by Cecil Castellucci

“There was a pop and then nothing,” Jane states on the first page of this graphic novel. The next panel is black with the text “I didn’t know what was happening.”

Cecil Castellucci’s “The Plain Janes” follows Jane after she has moved to the suburban town of Kent Waters. Before she leaves Metro City, she cuts off her hair and dyes it black. She changes her outward appearance to reflect the changes in her after that day – the day of the bomb explosion.

Jane is a reluctant loner. She wants friends but not the kinds of friends she had before. She is drawn to the nerds, benchwarmers, theater kids and the outsiders. In this short graphic novel, the reader follows Jane as she copes with what happened in the city, her relationship with “John Doe”, her move to the suburbs and the fear the engulfs her family through art and humour and a little help from her new friends, who all happen to be named “Jane.”

Fast-paced, humourous, inspiring, empowering – this is definitely a great book to give to that girl or boy who just fits a little bit outside the “norm.” It is a great g.n. and highly recommended.

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