Friday, January 30, 2009

Review: The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci

The Plain Janes is a book that came out in 2007 from minx, an imprint of DC Comics that makes chick-lit graphic novels. Another blog reviewed it and it looked interesting, so I picked it up from the library. (If it was you let me know, I can't remember who reviewed it for the life of me.)

This book follows a girl named Jane who leaves Metro City in favor of a small town after her family is traumatized by a bomb detonation. Many of her thoughts are revealed in her letters to a comatose John Doe who was standing next to her when the bomb went off. At her new school she joins the group of school rejects, all named Jane, and they begin a series of "art attacks" on the town.

The Plain Janes is simple and real, without any distractions from the main emotion. It's perfect for graphic novel format because so much of it is about the art itself, and the style reflects that. The pictures are clean and uncluttered, and dialogue is economized.

The character development is excellent in this, especially considering how short the book is. I usually find that the more realistic characters are the more annoying they get, but the Janes--Main Jane, Brain Jayne, Sporty Jane and Theater Jane--are my kind of people. There's also a collection of supporting characters, each of whom has much more depth than you might expect on their first appearance. The story raises good questions and delivers a pitch-perfect ending.

There is a sequel called Janes in Love that I would very much like to read, should the library choose to buy it, and Castellucci has written several traditional novels, but if you're looking for something similar to this, your best bet is to try out the other books from minx.

Buy The Plain Janes


  1. I recently read this based on a blog recommendation, too - and I also enjoyed it very much. I thought it ended rather quickly, though, and I'm hoping I can get the sequel soon.

  2. Thanks for this review - I'd been wanting to look into this one, but I hadn't had a chance. Now it's officially been added to my embarrassingly long list!


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