Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Plain Janes

The Plain Janes
by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
DC Comics
Copyright 2007

2007 Cybils Nominee

There are three main plot lines in this graphic novel for teens.

1. The main character, Jane, is walking by a cafe in Metro City when a bomb goes off. Her parents are afraid to live in the city, so they move to the suburbs.
2. As the new kid at Buzz Aldrin High, Jane consciously negotiates the cliques. She refuses to join the "cool girls," and yet when she sits at a table of outcasts, she finds herself in the unique position of being an outcast of even the outcasts.
3. Jane writes letters to another of the bomb blast victims, a young man known only as John Doe who has been in a coma since the blast. Jane saved him, picked up his "Art Saves" sketch book, put up posters of him to try to learn his identity, and visited him in the hospital. She takes his sketch book with her when her family moves to the 'burbs.

These three plot lines twist together to form the story of how Jane wins over the outcasts and turns them into the most popular group at Buzz Aldrin High. She involves the girls (another Jane, Jayne, and Polly Jane -- hence the Plain Janes of the title) in secretly creating public art installations/events/attacks that are claimed by the group P.L.A.I.N.: People Loving Art In Neighborhoods (hence the Plain Janes of the title).

Lo and behold, art does save -- it saves all of the Janes and gives them a powerful girl gang that helps them come to terms with high school cliques in their own unique ways.

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