Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review: Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci

While some of our east coast friends are getting snow, we are still blissfully strolling along, in denial that winter is on its way.  It's pretty cold here, which is why I finally gave up on the tomato plant that I moved inside over a month ago (can you believe I was still babying it?), and left it outside to finally kick the bucket.  With our first school term over, I was able to pack up my back porch and move everything inside.  Now we can go ahead and let it snow and storm, because I'm finally ready!

In the meantime, I've been stealing moments away to read, and have needed to share my review for Plain Janes for some time.

Synopsis:  From Goodreads, "When transfer student Jane is forced to move from the confines of Metro City to Suburbia, she thinks her life is over. But there in the lunch room at the reject table she finds her tribe: three other girls named Jane. Main Jane encourages them to form a secret art gang and paint the town P.L.A.I.N. -- People Loving Art In Neighborhoods. But can art attacks really save the hell that is high school?"

Review:  Plain Janes is an interesting, comic sort of story right from the get go.  With Jane's move from Metro City, where she experienced a traumatic bombing (in the first several frames), there is more to Jane's back story than expected.  I know that I found myself trying to figure out if "Metro City" was supposed to be some city today, with some connection to an attack or event, but I had to give that up to go with the story.  Although Jane has experienced something traumatic, that has changed who she is, the story is more about her difference and others who feel different right along with her.  

Jane has a nice bunch of "misfit" Janes that she befriends and is able to convince to start this gang of "artists" who go out doing obscure things to garner attention for art.  In this case, that art is an expression of some sort, which intimidates the law and everyone else who are trying to keep some order to Suburbia.  Of course, to this mix we have to add a mysterious boy, who may or may not like Jane.  What teen story would be complete without the mysterious guy who seems to notice how unique our main heroine really is?

Jane, meeting her misfit Janes on her first day at school.
 Plain Janes was an interesting read, with what felt like a heartier theme than I've felt from other graphic novels I've read in awhile.  There are some unique, gutsy characters to go along with the themes, so you really feel unable to predict the story.  As with most graphic novels I've read, I enjoyed Plain Janes for the interesting reading experience and story.  It's nice to get a message, but in a different way. 

*FTC Disclosure:  The review is based on a library copy of the novel.


  1. I thought this was pretty well done. You will have to read the sequel JANES IN LOVE.

  2. "...can art attacks really save the hell that is high school?"

    No. I know from personal experience.

  3. I attended three different high schools in two states and a foreign country.

    I loved that high school period and have maintained my close friendships from all those moves. When boredom of a geography or teachers or classmates began to loom, I knew that my landscape would change yet again, so that I could look forward to a new adventure!

    I maintained my OWN standards and cared less about the unsophisticated mores of some immature teens and found friends to suit me.

    High school is "hell" only if YOU allow it to be so.