Monday, May 18, 2009
The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
Jane is forced to relocate to the suburbs of Kent Waters by her parents after a bomb attack in Metro City. The bomb attack and sudden relocation have left Jane traumatized and searching for meaning in her young world. After a dramatic self-imposed makeover and deliberately shunning the popular girls at her new high school, Jane works to befriend a group of outcasts all named Jane. One day while walking through the suburban streets Jane has an epiphany, which not only solidifies her friendship with the Janes, but also inspires her to find meaning in this new life forced upon her.
The Janes form a group called P.L.A.I.N. (People Loving Art in Neighborhoods), which sparks quite a controversy among those living in Kent Waters. The girls create beautiful public art throughout the neighborhoods using guerrilla tactics, which the local police call “art attacks.” P.L.A.I.N.s actions, although not fully understood at first, eventually receive positive reaction. The public displays created by P.L.A.I.N not only fill the Janes with confidence, but also inspire the local teenagers to find something beautiful in their lives.
For those who love graphic novels, the illustrations by Rugg are not drawn in your typical manga or comic book style. The drawings are simpler like those found in alternative graphic novels by Jeffrey Brown (which can also be found at your local library). They contribute well, as they don’t overshadow a story that explores a need to belong and the creative outlets necessary in order to survive those pesky teenage years.
Other books by Castellucci available at Moore Memorial Public Library:
Janes in Love (sequel to Plain Janes with Rugg)
The Queen of Cool