Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg

Reason for Reading: Graphic Novel Challenge, Dewey Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge
Noted young adult novelist Cecil Castellucci and artist Jim Rugg launch MINX with THE PLAIN JANES, a story about four girls named Jane who sit at the reject table at lunch.When transfer student Jane is forced to move from the confines of Metro City to Suburbia, she thinks her life is over.But there in the lunch room at the reject table she finds her tribe: three other girls named Jane. Main Jane encourages them to form a secret art gang and paint the town P.L.A.I.N. -- People Loving Art In Neighborhoods.But can art attacks really save the hell that is high school?
Dear Dewey,

I wish I had taken more notice back when you reviewed this book, because I was really missing out! It surprised me how much I liked this graphic novel. I am very strict about my graphic novel buying, but I think I might actually buy this one! Not just for the fact that I like it, but because the library doesn't have the sequel and I am probably going to want to read that at some point! This book might not look like much, but when you get inside the pages you find a hidden gem! I am not a huge art fanatic, I will clear that up right now, but I know how horrible high school can be! I think most people can attest to that. The authors of this graphic novel have just came up with a way to make life a little bit better for four young women named Jane. You see, they may fly under the radar, so you might think they are plain, but it is actually P.L.A.I.N.: People Loving Art in Neighborhoods. The things that these women do is actually sort of inspiring, even if the town doesn't think so!

This book actually reminded me of you! Especially now as I am reading your review and writing this letter. Main Jane was all about building a community, when those that were in charge (including her parents) would rather live in fear. While the circumstances are not the same exactly, you were all about community-building, too. Your community building lives on, and hypothetically speaking, the events in this book will, too! Jane finds a way to bring her town together; while you find a way to bring book bloggers and readers from all over the world together. I really enjoyed that parallel. Jane changes the way that people look at things, and you changed the way that people read. Book bloggers can be just as unpopular as the members of P.L.A.I.N., you know. It really makes a person think!

I really liked your last paragraph, so I am going to close with quoting it:
In fact, once it’s discovered who P.L.A.I.N. is, Jane’s new friends try to decide how to restructure themselves now that they’re no longer anonymous. Jane ends by saying, “Of course we can still be an art girl gang.” And she thinks, “I feel a fierce pride. This is my tribe.”
Until next time...

To read Dewey's review of this book, click here.


  1. I loved this book! When you look at the cover you don't see anything special until you open it up and start reading.I have this on my list to buy too. Why can't libraries buy sequels to books?!? It would really help. Glad that you're writing reviews again.=)

  2. I know! By them not buying the sequels, you know I am going to end up buying that and this book because who wants to own parts of series! So annoying! And, thanks, I am doing my best on the reviewing thing.

  3. Just wanted to drop to say I love your Dewey Letters!

  4. I liked this book a lot to. I never got around to reviewing it, but I think I would have said a lot of the same things you did here. It's a different kind of book about community and sisterhood and friends, which I enjoyed.


  5. Suey: Thank you!

    Kim: It was really enjoyable. I am looking forward to getting a chance to read the sequel!

  6. I loved this so much! I've got this and the second on hold at the library and I can't wait to read the first one again. It's been awhile since I read it, so I wanted to refresh myself before reading the second part :) Terrific Dear Dewey post, as always :)

  7. Joanne: I want to read the sequel. Maybe I will see if it will come in through inter-library loans...

  8. I finally got these in May, and read them - somehow I missed your post - so when I saw that Debi had posted about them, I came here to see what you had written too. Aren't they wonderful books? And don't you wish you could be a Jane too? Or, start a Jane group? I would have loved high school then, instead of hating it as much as I did! I loved the learning but had a dreadful time with certain groups of people. Anyway, I also love the theme of art saves, and how it's not facile, but something that through Jane's actions, does become a system and way of acting that does save her whole community. What a lovely set of books. Thank you for this lovely reminder of Dewey, too!


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