I am officially done with my road trip and settling in to Virginia (slowly). I’m pretty behind on the blog, but I’m pretty behind in life too, so this is going to be a short post about a short read. Cecil Castellucci has moderated the teen stage at the LA Festival of Books the past two years and I’ve been meaning to read something by her. I have Boyproof on my kindle, but spotted this when I was hanging out at the library last week. It was a nice easy afternoon read.
The Plain Janes is a graphic novel that follows Jane who, after experiencing a terrorist attack and moving to the suburbs, remakes herself from a popular airhead to a thinking artist. She recruits three other girls who she deems worthy of friendship, all named Jane, and creates the Plain Janes. The Plain Janes do all sorts of Art Attacks around town and credit a group called P.L.A.I.N. (People Loving Art In Neighborhoods).
While most of the town appreciate what the Plain Janes are doing, Jane’s mother is becoming even more terrified about Jane’s safety and the police are viewing the acts as vandalism. But Jane can’t back down because this is the only way she knows to try and see the beauty in the world again.
Going in I thought it would be a pretty light story about a girl who likes art, but it turned out to be about a girl using art to heal herself and those around her. I really enjoyed it. It was fun, Jane was easy to like, and I felt like there was way more substance to the story than I expected. The message that art heals is one I truly believe in, so it was easy to connect with the story. Castellucci also shows us a different side to the popular teenagers that Jane initially writes off. This message is for everybody, not just the disenfranchised.
My only problem was that the story ended abruptly. Jane’s character arc was very complete, but there were a few plot threads that were kind of half explained away and I was left wondering if the book was missing a page (it wasn’t). Overall, I really enjoyed The Plain Janes. I’m excited to read more graphic novels and more from Cecil Castellucci.