Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 375
engaging graphic novel about art activism
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
THE PLAIN JANES is a YA graphic novel that celebrates friendship and art. The book is in two parts for the first two graphic novels originally published years ago. THE PLAIN JANES tells of how Jane came to Kent Waters, a small town, found a group she wanted to call her own and began the PLAIN movement (People Loving Art In Neighborhoods). The second, JANES IN LOVE, continues this storyline as well as goes into the romances that the Janes have, centered around the Ides of March dance, where girls ask the boys.

The main Jane (their names all happen to be variants of Jane) came from Metro City, and her parents moved her away to a small town after she was injured by a bomb explosion. This moment really altered Jane's perception, and when she helped another young man following, she found his Art Saves notebook. In the small town without museums, Jane is determined to bring art to the people, and so begins the PLAIN movement. However, the police and authorities are avidly against PLAIN from the start, focusing on the attack part of the art attacks.

At the same time, Jane is dealing with a maybe-romance with Damon and parent issues, where her mother is constantly checking up on her- until another bad thing happens to someone her mother used to know, and she becomes so anxious she cannot leave the house.

The book tackles some big issues in a really approachable way. The artwork is fantastic, and though a lot of the story is told in Jane's letters to John Doe (the man she helped save after the bomb) or through her thoughts and not dialogue, it is still really readable. The font size does mean I had to keep the book close to my face, but the text-to-image ratio is spot-on.

The storyline itself is highly engaging, making this a really fun read to dive into. I would highly recommend for fans of books like MOXIE and ON THE COME UP. This is a really fun graphic novel.
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