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The Girl Who Owned a City: The Graphic Novel

The Girl Who Owned a City: The Graphic Novel

5.0 3
by O. T. Nelson, Joelle Jones (Illustrator), Dan Jolley (Adapted by)

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A deadly virus killed every adult on Earth, leaving only us kids behind. My parents are gone, so I'm responsible for my little brother, Todd. I have to make sure we stay alive. Many kids are sick or starving, and fierce gangs are stealing and destroying everything they find. Lots of people have given up, but here on Grand Avenue, some of us are surviving. Because


A deadly virus killed every adult on Earth, leaving only us kids behind. My parents are gone, so I'm responsible for my little brother, Todd. I have to make sure we stay alive. Many kids are sick or starving, and fierce gangs are stealing and destroying everything they find. Lots of people have given up, but here on Grand Avenue, some of us are surviving. Because of me.

I figured out how to give the kids on Grand Avenue food, homes, and protection against the gangs. But Tom Logan and his army are determined to take away what we've built and rule the streets themselves. How long can we keep fighting them off? We need to find another place for us to live safely. A strong place. A secret place.

In a world like this, someone has to take charge. But do I have the strength to take charge of a whole city?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathie M. Josephs
Picture the world with no adults and only children. How will they survive? Everyone knows that in major situations someone has to take charge, but how is that person chosen, especially when it is a child? In this story, a virus killed all the adults, leaving children to fend for themselves. Lisa Nelson knows she has to take care of her 7-year-old brother, but isn't quite sure how to do so. With planning, Lisa is able to find food and provide safe places on Grand Street for children to live. However, gangs form and each battle determines who is the toughest. When Tom Logan and all of his followers decide to take away everything Lisa has accomplished and keep it as their own, Lisa know that she has to take the children to a place that no one will ever be able to find. She doubts her abilities, but knows it is truly up to her. In order to accomplish her mission she becomes almost like a dictator, which certainly made me wonder if there could have been a better way to handle the leadership role. The artwork is terrific and the details (right down to freckles) add much to the story. Often graphic novels are produced in black and white and the color used in this book added much to the artwork. Young adults, even reluctant readers, should enjoy this form of a story. It is a book that will be enjoyed by both girls and boys and is great for discussing with a friend. The book is well written, gives the reader a lot to think about, and shows how young people can honestly cope with difficult situations. The story does contain some violence. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
VOYA - Matthew Weaver
This is a graphic-format retelling of Nelson's 1975 novel, but it feels like a contemporary offering from the camp of postapocalyptic adventure. Ten-year-old Lisa Nelson leads all the kids in her town to find new ways to prosper after a virus kills everyone on earth over the age of thirteen. Quick-thinking Lisa is the only one who thinks to gather fruits, vegetables, and medical supplies while the rest of the world gorges on candy. Soon the world is amok with thieves, looters, and goons, like the Chidester Gang, who bully and steal from the starving and the weak. Lisa takes groups under her wing, first forming her own town and eventually moving into a former high school (her eponymous "city") complex to develop a whole new society, fending off the warlike advances of would-be marauders. Nelson's original story could have been a precursor to the popular graphic novel series and now TV show The Walking Dead, minus the zombies. Despite the age of the original source material, everything feels fresh, even if precocious Lisa sounds like she has been reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged while she promotes hard work and grapples with the occasional dissenter. (Apparently Nelson subscribes to Rand's objectivist philosophy.) Whether the fantasy of rebuilding a grown-up-less society balances out the rhetoric or not, Jones's gorgeous illustrations will suck readers in. It is an overall engaging story that could spark some lively debate over the true meaning of sharing and leadership. Reviewer: Matthew Weaver
School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—This adaptation of O. T. Nelson's 1975 novel by the same title (Lerner) tells a story that will intrigue young readers everywhere: what would happen if all of the adults were gone? As the book opens, a mysterious virus has killed everyone over the age of 12. Lisa is foraging for supplies and bringing them home to her younger brother. When a local gang starts attacking kids for their supplies, Lisa brainstorms about how to protect what she has and how to recruit other kids on her street to form a better defense against the gangs. Eventually, she gathers the kids together, moves them into a local school, and calls the building the City of Glenbard. Much of the story is about the kids teaching one another basic survival skills like driving cars and shooting guns while the City's population grows. The characterization starts out being about the "good kids" against the gangs, but Lisa proves to be more complicated than that. In addition to the conflicts with marauding gangs, she is frequently challenged by her trusted allies because she keeps calling it my instead of our City. Jones's illustrations are shaded in brown and green earth tones and are filled with movement and life. The faces of the children are angular and interesting, looking realistically like kids who have been struggling to survive. This will be an ideal recommendation for readers looking for a dystopian story in which young people need to step up and be their own heroes.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library

Product Details

Graphic Universe
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.40(d)
GN420L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

O. T. Nelson originally wrote The Girl Who Owned a City in 1975. Since then the novel has sold more than 200,000 copies in many editions. He wrote the book because he wanted kids "to realize that they are important and that they have the ability to think and make a difference." O. T. Nelson lives in Minnesota with his wife.

Joëlle Jones launched her artistic career in 2006. Among her varied projects are the illustrations for three titles by Jamie S. Rich—12 Reasons Why I Love Her, You Have Killed Me, and Spell Checkers; the comic-book spinoff of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog; the Iron Man story in Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man #150 by Brian Michael Bendis; and Janet Evanovich's bestselling graphic novel Troublemaker. She lives in Oregon.

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The Girl Who Owned a City: The Graphic Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was forced to read this book in school, but it was the best book i ever read and belive me with the all the books in my house that is saying some thing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is all about survivle and not getting attaked. I am reading this book at school and it is the first bookbi really injoyed i love it to death the only thing that i dont like is it says a bad word in the text but thats not that bad i am almost done this wonderful book i am at chapter 16 with only one more to go. P.S please make this into a movie! Thanks, Caylee
DelilahC More than 1 year ago
it is awesome when i got it was so addicting