Thursday, October 9, 2008
The Plain Janes by Cecil Castelluci and Jim Rugg
[description from the back of the book]
When Jane is forced to move from the cool 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. It's up to Main Jane to convince the girls to form a secret club called P.L.A.I.N.- People Loving Art In Neighborhoods. But can art really save a group of misfits from the hell that is high school?
Well, I now know that Cecil Castellucci can write graphic novels and regular novels, since I loved Boy Proof and really liked this book.
I enjoyed the plot immensely, mostly because I see the whole adventure of the Janes as a message to go and do something to make the world, and yourself, better. But just because it has a message doesn't mean it's boring or lame or a pain to read. It's not. It's light and it's just fun to read since much of it is made up of pretty pictures. (Want to see one of the pretty pictures? Click here.) Speaking of pretty pictures, I really liked the art in this one. In my review of Kin, I mentioned how some of the pictures are really detailed, while some of the ones next to those are not really detailed and look kind of blob-y. Such is not the case with the art in this book. There isn't detail where it turns out to look like insanity, but there's not anything that makes any of the art look finished.
Character-wise, I did really like Main Jane, but felt like almost everyone else was kind of stereotypes: genius nerd, weird theatre geek, benchwarmer, and funny gay boy. I liked all the characters- especially funny gay boy. He was, well, funny. And awesome- but there were still those stereotypes. They do kind of come out of their shells during the secret art missions they go on and in the sequel, which is just as fantabulous as this one in case you wanted to know. But Main Jane was strong and determined and had reasons for her actions, so she kind of made up for everyone else. As did mean girl who really wasn't that mean in the end.
So, a checklist:
Light, fun, interesting, loveable plot- check.
Good but stereotypical characters- check.
Pretty art- check.
And remember: Art saves.