The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
Jane was in the heart of Metro City when there was a terrorist attack. Lucky to survive, Jane’s parents move to the suburbs for a more “safe” place to live. In a new town and a new high school, Jane is not only alone, she is also bored by suburban life. So, on her first day of school, Jane is surprised to find three other Janes who are all friends and eat lunch together. Jane asks to join them and instantly finds friendship. Each of the Janes has their own unique personalities and together they all just fit. To fight the boredom of suburban life Jane rallies the other Janes to form P.L.A.I.N., or People Loving Art in Neighborhoods. They create art installations all over their suburban town to challenge people’s everyday notions of what art can be. Some residents like the art, however, there are those who are outraged and frightened of it and start calling the installations “art attacks”. What does this mean for the Janes? Do they continue their installations, risking arrest? Or worse?
The Plain Janes is a great graphic novel for anyone who is interested in art and how it can challenge our everyday beliefs or thoughts. It is also a good read for anyone who has felt like an outcast. It really shows how you can take the things that make you unique, and instead of being negative about them, you embrace them and try and challenge people with your ideas.
Also, the art in The Plain Janes really matches the plot of the story. The black and white drawings add to the drama of the of the terrorist attack, Jane’s first day of school, and the sneaking around when creating the art installations. However, I do wish the art installations could have been in color! The characters are portrayed very realistically, which helps to add the idea that this could be a true story. Check out a sample of the art below: