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The Plain Janes (Minx) Library Binding – September, 2007
The Eagle Tree
A young boy must fight to protect what he loves, but can he do it without risking his family?Learn More
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From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The biggest issue with "The Plain Janes" is that every character who is not the central character is completely one-dimensional. All of the adults are cardboard cut-outs who scream, freak out, and are otherwise completely unreasonable. The other students each have one particular trait [sporty, nerdy, theater geek, gay, good-looking, popular] and that's about it. Even the main character isn't terribly well-rounded, as all she seems to do is freak out, not freak out, and talk about how awesome it is that she's brought art to the obviously lacking suburb which she lives.
The pseudo-9/11 plot does nothing for this book except drag it down. It's overused to the point of being boring, and all it does is set up a couple of ridiculous scenes where Jane's mother yells at her, and then Jane acts surprised when she's grounded for sneaking out of the house and hitchhiking nine hours to check on a John Doe she writes to at the hospital.
This book needed a better writer. Mike Carey, who wrote "Confessions of a Blabbermouth" and "Re-Gifters" should have been given this book. He writes teenagers much more realistically than Cecil Castellucci and does so in a way that doesn't make the adults come off as horrible, useless things that are just out to stop the teenagers from having a good time.
Read the rest of the "Minx" line, or buy it for the teenage girl in your life, but let this one rot on the shelf.
The story is interesting, but Castellucci has a bit of a problem with dialog. The characters really sound like they were written, not how they would talk. It all just has a bit of an exposition feel to it the entire way through.
Rugg's art is effective here, but not all that impressive. It doesn't detract from the story being told, but I also thought it didn't really enhance it
Now, onto the characters. This is where I had the biggest problem with things. The main character of Jane is pretty well nuanced and rounded, but every other character in the book is just a stereotypical cardboard cutout of a cliched character type. The police officer is always screaming, the gay male character is always being so incredibly effeminate it's off-putting, the drama crazed Jane is constantly speaking as if here words were pulled directly from Shakespeare. This is an OK template to build a character off of, but absolutely nobody acts like this in real life. I could understand the use of character types like this in a book designed for children, but I would think that teenagers would desire something a little more dynamic
One other criticism here, and this just really smacks of a first time comic book writer. How in the world does Jane get a phone that automatically picks up and broadcasts in speakerphone without any input from the user? This is absolutely ridiculous, and I really think that it's a very visible crutch that Castellucci uses more than once in the story
All in all though, despite all of my critiques, I mildly enjoyed the book...it's not nearly the worst thing I've ever read, but it just didn't resonate for me. I would like to see what Castellucci can do in the future, but she's going to have to improve over her debut.
Art is important. I think sometimes about how millenia ago, when survival was far more difficult and people spent most of every day trying to get food and shelter, but still, they created art. It is a need, to do more than survive, to leave a mark in the world, to do something that is just for the beauty of it. Sometimes we forget that, but it seems the most extreme experiences help us remember.
Art was an outlet of expression, an outlet of relaxation, for me during high school. Seeing the Janes create art everywhere, as an escapsim from the world, was very interesting. I wish I would have thought of that.
I want to commend the creators of this graphic novel. It was 45-minute read that was better than any television show I saw this week and well worth my money.
Pick up this book if you're interested in fun literature -- and be glad to be P.L.A.I.N.
The story is of course meant to draw comparisons to 9/11, but more than that its meant to tell about a young girl trying to fit into a new place and a new world during some of the most difficult years of a young persons life, the dreaded teenage years. Castellucci does a fairly good job of telling the story and making each Jane feel like a unique person. But at times they seem to resemble more of an individual trait than a complete person. It detracts from the story a bit, especially since the supporting characters don't have much depth to them. The artwork is simply drawn and seemingly draws more inspiration from Scott McCloud, than from superhero comics or Manga. It works well with the story and doesn't try to overwhelm the reader with too many details.
Overall it's not a bad read and would be a good book for the teenage crowd, even with its faults. More mature readers might want to look at other books, such as Bryan Lee O'Malley or Hope Larson's works for more depth to characters.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Graphic novels -- not collections of DC superhero comics, but scratch-written stories -- can be kind of a mixed bag. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Michael K. Smith
This was not my favorite graphic novel. On the positive note, I loved the illustrations and the overall concept. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jessica Bradley Barnes
A fun story about four girls named Jane, one of whom is a bombing survivor. Quick read, but good.Published 20 months ago by Malinda
A good story. Well... Just OK. I like the whole idea of what was happening here, but I couldn't help but wonder if 'Mean Girls' did it slightly better. Read morePublished on May 20, 2014 by MICHAEL
When teenager Jane is a bystander to a terrorist bombing in Metro City (aka New York), her parents freak out and decide to move way out to the suburbs, where life is supposedly... Read morePublished on February 11, 2014 by A. Ross
I really enjoyed this graphic novel. The storyline is empowering, encouraging people to make creative and positive contributions to their community, and demonstrating a way of... Read morePublished on January 20, 2014 by L. Smith
A great story with amazingly great graphics. Fast delivery and arrived just when I needed something to remind me that art and rebel are always a great combination. Read morePublished on September 11, 2013 by Agnes
Really liked this short, cant wait to order the next. I like the spirit of the characters and storyline. Would recommend this to other graphic novel readersPublished on September 26, 2012 by Les