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Suzanne D'AmatoThe authors are skillful at capturing the rudderless intensity of high school years. The girls imagine themselves bold art provocateurs, but
—The Washington Post
DC Comics' imprint of graphic novels for girls, Minx, starts off with a bang with this elegant story of art in the suburbs. As Jane walks past a sidewalk café in Metro City, a terrorist's bomb goes off. Her parents, overtaken by fear, move the family to the small town of Kent Waters. The popular girls at Buzz Aldrin High court her, but Jane wants to be an outsider. She finds three other girls named Jane, all of them unpopular in different ways—one is "Brain Jane," one an aspiring actress and one an athlete—and together the four of them make "art attacks" on the city, leaving the name P.L.A.I.N. (People Loving Art In Neighborhoods) wherever they go. They build pyramids on the site of a planned strip mall ("The pyramids lasted for thousands of years. Do you think this strip mall will?") and populate the police department's lawn with gnomes. But to a community consumed with elevated threat levels, the attacks seem more ominous than generous, and P.L.A.I.N. becomes an outlaw group. All the while, Jane continues to write letters to John Doe, the unidentified man whose life she saved during the bombing—and who sits in a hospital, comatose, his sketchbook serving as her muse. Castellucci (Boy Proof) and Rugg (co-creator of Street Angel) nimbly make their larger point—that fear is an indulgence we must give ourselves permission to overcome—without ever preaching, and without neglecting the dynamics of a page-turning coming-of-age story. Ages 12-up. (May)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
In Re-Gifters, fiery Korean teen Dixie woos hapkido dojang-mate Adam with an expensive gift, but Adam's heartthrob is glam-girl Megan. Meanwhile, Dixie's fighting spirit gets the attention of school bad boy, loan shark, and bookmaker Tomas, a.k.a. Dillinger. Affections change as the gift changes hands, and when Adam tries to get Dixie to throw the hapkido championship, Dixie is ready to respond to Tomas's real affection and support despite his reputation. This delightful martial arts romantic comedy shows fine plotting, simpatico characters, and fluid, manga-influenced art. The Plain Janestells a more complex and darker tale with plainer, Dan Clowes-style art. Caught in a terrorist attack, high schooler Jane changes hair, mindset, and-compelled by her frightened parents-city and school. Spurning the in-crowd, she recruits other outcast Janes to stage guerilla-style art attacks, tagged P.L.A.I.N.: People Loving Art in Neighborhoods. The hyperparanoid authorities are not amused, but P.L.A.I.N. wins over most of the other kids. The premise is intriguing, relevant, and disturbing, even as the resolution leaves more questions. When is an art attack sabotage, graffiti, or vandalism? How can people reinvent their lives despite fear? DC's new Minx line promises eclectic, real-world stories that honor girls' intelligence and assertiveness, and these two titles deliver. Recommended for teens up.
Young adult author Castellucci makes her graphic-novel debut with this quirky comic. Jane's parents relocate to the suburbs when she's caught in a bomb attack in Metro City. Bored and lonely in her new town and school, the teen is thrilled when she meets three other girls named Jane, all of them as out of place as she is. They form a secret club, the Plain Janes, and decide to liven up the town with art. Some people like their work, but most are frightened, and the local police call the Plain Janes' work "art attacks." Castellucci gives each girl a distinct personality, and spirited, compassionate Main Jane is especially captivating. Rugg's drawings aren't in superhero or manga style, but resemble the more spare, clean style of alternative comics creators such as Dan Clowes and Craig Thompson. A thoughtful look at the pressures to conform and the importance of self-expression, this is also a highly accessible read. Regular comics readers will enjoy it, but fans of soul-searching, realistic young adult fiction should know about it as well.
—Lisa GoldsteinCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Posted December 15, 2011
I personally think the author's purpose for writing this book is to let teens know that being popular is not everything in high school. You do not have to be pretty, popular, tall or skinny to have friends. Friends mean they don't care about what you look like, they should care about your personality. They should have your back, help you through hard times, have fun with you and never care about how people think of you. In this book Jane was in a horrible bomb that almost killed her she had to move, then Jane could have been popular, but she decided to make friends with some other people. The popular students got mad that she didn't want to be apart of the popular's. Just because you are not known all that well at school doesn't mean you have to become popular so you can have friends. Your friends are people who, like in the book, help you out with projects. In the book, the Jane's made the secret club called P.L.A.I.N. they made art work and put it around the city. She went back to her hometown city to see someone she saved,she came back because he went back home. He was okay. A few times the girls from P.L.A.I.N. almost got caught, but at the end someone got caught. Then it is all done. They finish with the P.L.A.I.N. actions. They still hang out and are best friends. The Plain Janes is a great book to show not just teens but everyone, that being popular is not everything.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 25, 2010
This is a really cute, girl power type graphic novel. The Janes really grow together as they learn to accept each others' different quirks and even use them to the advantage of the group. (Main) Jane, being new and from Metro City, is courted by the popular girls, but her insistence on staying loyal to the rest of the Janes, without Mean Girl-ing the popular chicks, is highlighted a few different times. It's her ability to be nice to everyone, even when she's blowing off the popular crowd, that makes the Big Unifying Art Attack possible.
Running underneath this light storyline is (Main) Jane's attempt to cope with the attack she lived through in Metro City. After the attack she grew attached to a John Doe who also survived but has been in a coma ever since. His notebook, full of his admiration of everyday art, is what inspires her to start P.L.A.I.N. She writes him letters, which she sends to the hospital, about the art "attacks" and her new friends. Though this relationship is entirely onesided, it gives Jane the outlet that she needs for her feelings regarding the attack and her parents' newfound fear of Metro City.
The artwork is entirely in black and white, which I found a bit strange at first considering it is a book about public art. The artist uses the black and white drawings to highlight the emotions of (Main) Jane and later of her friends, rather than to highlight the art they create, as color work would do. It lends some levity to the lighter, surface storyline.
Overall, this is a quick and fun read that has a bit more heft and substance to it than you'd guess at first glance. I highly recommend it.
Book source: Philly Free Library
Posted April 13, 2009
This was a cool magna. Enjoyed the story line and the protagonists were great. If U enjoy magnas, U will enjoy this one and U can finish it in one day or while chillin' at the park.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 15, 2007
I have never read a graphic title before, but I really enjoyed this one. It was a quick read full of suspense and characters I could relate to. I hope there is a sequel so that we can find out what happens to the Janes.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 11, 2010
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Posted January 17, 2009
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