The second book of the PLAIN Janes series returns to the four Janes of suburban town Kent Waters and their public art "attacks" as People Loving Art in Neighborhoods (PLAIN). This time the story line is sprinkled with bits of romance as the various Janes struggle to approach their love interests for dates to the school dance and the main Jane applies for an art grant. Castellucci writes with ambition, including threads that pull in issues of terrorism, fear, free art and adolescent anxiety. Unfortunately, the resulting tangle of political overtones sometimes clutters what could have been a clearer story of one girl's artistic aspirations and the underlying theme of friendship. Rugg, whose art and unfettered concepts of femininity soared with Street Angel, is more constrained with the two-dimensional characters he's illustrating. As the second book of the series, a character breakdown or introduction would be helpful to new readers. Otherwise, it's a suitable read for those who enjoyed the first Janes book, but not a good entry point for anyone unfamiliar with the series. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In this sequel to The Plain Janes (Minx, 2007), the Janes bravely continue to pursue their love of boys and their love of art, facing challenges from the police, their parents, and the community. Castellucci deftly deals with a number of serious issues, including anxiety and depression, mortality, body image, gay relationships, and community activism. Fortunately, they never weigh down the narrative: this is a sweet, quirky story with some uplifting (though never pedantic) messages. Rugg's clean, crisp illustrations are the perfect accompaniment, giving the comic a hip, indie look that resembles Adrian Tomine's work.-Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
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Cute is how I describe this one. Interesting but good. Same with the first one. And the art is good as ever. This one has the P.L.A.I.N girls at it again, but it seems they have stuff to deal with in the process. Like the characters are a little more with this one. And the first one too. Good sequel.
Again, this is a cute top story with some seriousness underneath. All the Janes are secretly pining after someone, and a girls-ask-the-guys dance prompts them to act on their feelings. Main Jane is crushing on Damon, but afraid to talk to him after his arrest for her art attack. Miroslaw (formerly John Doe) is awake, and he and Jane exchange letters and care packages. He inspires Jane to apply for an art grant to make the P.L.A.I.N. Janes legit. Meanwhile another attack in Metro City scares Jane's mom into never leaving the house. In an effort to get her to come out, Jane's dad refuses to go in. Neither seems to notice that Jane isn't fairing well. And then Jane hears back from the grant people and has to sneak into Metro City to present her portfolio. Da da dum. In this installment, the Janes are joined by James, the lone gay guy who was a walking stereotype in the last book. He gets to be a much more complete character here with interests beyond being uber-gay. Still, he bemoans the lack of gay guys in Kent Waters as the rest of the Janes set their sights on their dream guys. He doesn't get the happily ever after that some of the Janes do, but he does get to ogle the whole (hot) guys' basketball team. And no one thinks it's gross! James also plays a very important role when Main Jane starts to receive letters from a Secret Admirer. SPOILER: When it turns out that these letters might be from a girl, James has a little talk with Jane about how to let Secret Admirer down easy, emphasizing that Jane should do everything in her power to not make Secret Admirer feel weird for crushing on another girl. This little tidbit is added in without making any kind of a big deal or turning into too much of a "teaching moment." James' concern is genuine and natural. End Spoiler. The Janes all deal with a little heartbreak, being in love will do that, and it brings them closer. Example: "The thing about having a good true friend is that it's ok if you cry so hard that snot runs down your face. Because their arms are strong and their heartbeat is loud ... and you can be your smallest and ugliest in front of them." p.53 Initially they were friends because they had no one else, then because they shared their passion for the P.L.A.I.N. Janes. Now they're just friends, who still sit together for lunch and sometimes dress in all black to put in a midnight art installation. Book 1: The Plain Janes Book source: Philly Free Library
In this second installment of the PLAIN JANES series, the gang is looking for new ways to spread art around the community. Problems are looming on the horizon, though. Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and everyone is looking for a sweetheart for the big dance and pulling their sneak art attacks are getting harder and harder with Officer Sanchez always on the lookout. Jane still maintains correspondence with Miroslaw from the first book. From one of the letters Jane gets from him, she gets the idea to find a legal way to spread her art. She applies for a grant from the National Foundation for the Arts. Her proposal is based on taking an abandoned corner and turning it into a garden paradise the whole community can enjoy. Despite some ups and downs, the Janes stay focused on their goal. This installment is just as entertaining as the first one. I'm assuming there will be another one, but I have no idea what it will be about since JANES IN LOVE wraps up so nicely.