The Girl Who Owned a City
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The Girl Who Owned a City

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  611 ratings  ·  163 reviews

My parents are gone, so I'm responsible for my little brother Todd. I have to make sure we stay alive. Many kids are sick or starving, and fierce gangs are stealing and destroying everything they find. Lots of people have given up, but here on Grand Avenue, some of us are surviving. Because of me.

I figu...more
Paperback, 126 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by Graphic Universe
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I was actually really impressed by this. A good friend of mine LOVES the original novel, but I had never had a chance to read it. When the graphic novel version came across the new book shelf at the library, I swiped it and checked it out immediately.

It's a pretty standard dystopian story (one that seems to be repeated a lot as of late, but let us remember, this one came first) -- everyone over the age of 12 is dead, and the kids have to take over.

What I really liked about this is that it read...more
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Got an ARC from NetGalley. Expected publication is in April 2012.

So, after I finished reading this, I saw on the last page that it had been based on a novel from 1975. I have not read the novel or ever heard of it, so I don't know what the similarities and differences between the original and graphic novels are. Whether the flaws in the graphic novel are in any way the fault of O.T. Nelson––the original author––I don't know.

Anyway, to briefly summarize the plot:

The Girl Who Owned a City is the...more
Am I paranoid, or is this an extended allegory about the virtues of neoliberal bootstrapping?

Either way, it's crazy didactic, the protagonist is annoyingly self-righteous, and the art, world-building, and dialogue-as-exposition are all pretty generic. Also, how can you have a dystopian graphic novel that shows practically none of the larger landscape in the art? If this world is so horrifying, I want to see it!
Dannielle Nebinski (the Girl Who Owned a City)
Genre: Graphic Novel

Lisa Nelson is a 10 year old girl, who along with her little brother Todd, are trying to survive in a Chicago suburb after a deadly virus Killed everyone in the world over the age of 12. They survive by looting abandoned houses and shops. With chaos and sickness ensuing, Lisa must protect Todd and make sure that both stay alive. While kids have given up and are dying, those who live in Lisa's neighborhood are surviving, because of...more
Katie (Books and Katie)
Pick a path you believe is right, and stick to it. That's what mom and dad always said. That's all I'm trying to do. But right or wrong tonight?

I don't regret anything


I read the novel this is based off of in middle school and I don't think I ever really appreciated it. Now, though, I really have to go back and re-read it. If it is anything like this, it will have a very strong, determined, kick-ass protagonist!

The story isn't too fleshed out in this graphic novel, so I can't go into too...more
I got an eGalley of this graphic novel though NetGalley(dot)com. I have never read the original work by O.T. Nelson so I can't compare to that. This was a very entertaining read though; the art was well done and I really enjoyed it.

Something horrible happened and everyone over the age of twelve died and turned into dust. Now the kids are left to survive on their own. Lisa decides to claim a building as her own and build a city for kids to come and shelter at. She organizes the city and gets it...more
I'm on the lookout for middle school appropriate graphic novels that can appeal to any gender/sex. Though the pacing seemed too quick at times, the designs are amazing. I can always appreciate a female lead too, although the minority characters were often left undeveloped and in the background. This had a serious Walking Dead vibe to it, but without the zombies and gore. I was surprised to find that it's based on a booked originally published in 1977, so it definitely was created before the Hung...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jay Odon
When all the people in the world over 12 turn to dust it leaves the children to fend for themselves. Some turn to violence, some can't take care of themselves and just fade away and others want to make a new life for themselves and others around them. Enter 10 year old Lisa, a smart and forward thinking leader looking for someplace safe for her and her brother. While Lisa goes on trips to find food and other supplies her brother is attacked and everything is stolen. Well Lisa is not going to put...more
Christian Petrie
In the quest to find books for my kids to read, came across this graphic novel. I vaguely remember reading the book, but remember the story more from the local stage production I was in as a kid. I had only a couple of lines, nothing big. Naturally it caught my eye and a way to introduce my kids to it.

Before all the current batch of Young Adult books about kids in the post disaster world, this was the first to do it. It follows kids in a town trying to survive after all the adults are killed.

I wasn't as impressed by The Girl Who Owned a City as the inside cover had me hoping I would be.

So, you've found yourself having survived the apocalypse! Good job! You're under the age of 12 because some freaky disease wiped out all of the adults and teenagers, leaving you and your little friends to fend for yourselves. You have three choices: 1) Die (that's what everyone seems to be doing, after all) 2) Fight it! You're tough! But die (or at least go through an extreme amount of hardship) beca...more
Sarah S
In elementary school I spent a lot of time considering how I would turn the school into an awesome house. This isn't quite what I imagined.
This book wasn't for me. With its original from 1975, many things just no longer make sense. With all of the adults are wiped out by disease, this book initially reminded me of Lord of the Flies, so I was intrigued. After just a few pages though, it was obviously nothing like Lord of the Flies. She was paranoid and her decisions hardly made any sense. And then end! Ridiculously unbelievable. I think I found this book out-of-touch, probably because the book was originally written in 1975. This is...more
Lisa is taking care of her brother Tod in a world where everyone over the age of 12 was killed by a virus. Lisa is smart and tough and works hard to make sure that her and Todd have enough. Unfortunately she keeps having run ins with Logan and the Chidester gang. Lisa brings all the kids in the neighborhood together and after a minor set back brings decides they need to create a fortified city.

Lisa is a very interesting character. She feels ownership of the group she creates and wrestles with wh...more
 ☆∞Bellas☮ ♥Shelf∞☆
Being a HUGE fan of (almost) anything "Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic" this was a treat for me to see on "NETGALLEY". I have only read a few graphic novels in my time so I was a tiny,tiny, bit leery that this was one.
As I began to read I quickly forgot about that apprehension. I was quickly drawn into 10 year old Lisa's new world, sans adults.
I imagined myself at 10 trying to navigate a world with no one older than 14 in it.

While it is a really great and fascinating story, I think at times Lisa wa...more
So, apparently if women owned cities they would turn into benevolent dictators.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I think I'm officially turning into a GN snob. A really great friend and librarian colleague of mine recently read this and loved it. I just kept seeing the flaws.

I get that this came first. That it's a dystopian tale about all the adults dying and the kids having to figure out how to survive and it stars a GIRL and the original book came out in 1975. I totally like the feel of the art. And THE...more
I really liked Lisa. She was smart and mature for a twelve year old while, but you could tell that she was still a kid because of the naivete that she displayed on rare occasions. Plus, she was a natural born leader who did not become pigheaded from arrogance because she acknowledged the heavy burden of responsibility that came with being a leader.

The other characters weren't that fleshed out, but they still were interesting to read, especially Lisa's little brother.

There were some plotholes th...more
Sara Grochowski
I'm relatively new to the world of graphic novels, having only read one other prior to The Girl Who Owned a City, but I was intrigued by the title and cover of this novel when I stumbled across it in a Chicago bookstore. Like many readers, I've had a recent love affair with all things post-apocalyptic and this graphic adaptation of O.T. Nelson's novel by the same title appeared to fit into that category nicely.

First, it seems appropriate to note that I have not read the original version of The G...more

We are plunked down into Lisa Nelson's life in a world where all the adults have died off because of a virus. Only kids are around and are responsible for everything...everything. And that's how it all begins, we, the reader, are eavesdropping in Lisa's life. Because we are dropped in, we get no background story on Lisa and her strength or Lisa and how she relates to the other kids...nothing and for me, that's okay.

I read because I want to escape the problems I'm having in my life: babysitters...more
I had wanted to read the original text version, but my library had only this graphic novel of the story. So, I cannot compare it with the original book, but review it on it's own merits, which is just as well.

Essentially a post-apocalyptic survival story, centering on a girl who organizes and leads a rag tag troop of youths (all under the age of 12 as a virus has killed everyone older), and her efforts to keep what she considers hers, namely her "city" (a decrepit high school building). The idea...more
Wonderfully drawn post-apocalyptic tale. I had no idea it was adapted from a J/YA novel from the 70s.
My quibble with it is philosophic: the main character says the newly formed city established in the abandoned school is "her city." That she "owns" it. It's dictatorial thinking and makes the character seem less noble, though that's not the intention: "L'etat, c'est moi!"
My understanding is that no society can be formed without shared consent. You can start off with like-minded folks with the sen...more
Lisa was a good main character. Sometimes her decisions were really stupid, but I excused them because she's around 10 years old. She's very mature and responsible for her age. I can't remember much about the rest of the characters, but it doesn't really matter since this is Lisa's story anyways.

The story moves quickly and efficiently which I appreciated. The story itself wasn't that interesting, but I liked seeing how Lisa would solve the problems thrown her way.

The boo...more
Several years ago, I read the book on which this graphic novel is based. I loved the book, and was a little anxious to see how it translated into a graphic novel. But I need not have been concerned. The creators of this adaptation have done a great job, and many of the scenes are exactly the way I pictured them. A virus kills everyone older than twelve, leaving children to fend for themselves. Lisa Nelson and her younger brother are somehow managing to survive, thanks to Lisa's ability to find f...more
Liz Winn
Lisa Nelson and her brother Todd live in a world without adult supervision - and it’s not as fun as it might sound. A deadly virus has killed every person over the age of 12. It’s everyone for himself, pretty much. Lisa has managed to support both Todd and herself by scavenging for food, but it’s not a lifestyle that she’s very fond of. After their food supply is stolen by Tom, the neighborhood bully and his gang, Lisa decides she’s had enough. She gathers the other children in the neighborhood...more
Christine Edison
I read The Girl Who Owned A City back in the '80s, so I was curious to see how the story was handled in this version. I liked the characters and how they grew up a bit, and the story moved faster than I thought it would. This version lost a lot of the material showing how Lisa and Todd survived day to day in a world without adults, and I missed seeing their routine. It was great to read about such a strong young heroine, but I didn't see enough of her stress at being forced into that role.

I will...more
Wandering Librarians
A world-wide plague killed everyone under the age of 13. There are only children left. Lisa, her brother Todd and the other children in her Grandville neighborhood are struggling to survive. Lisa is smarter than most. She won't let fear get the better of her. She knows if they're going to make it, they need to organize with the other children and figure out a way to find food and protect themselves from wandering gangs. The first step is finding a place where they can all live but is easy to pro...more
Sinai C.
Overall Rating: 3.5

Illustrations: 2 Stars--this is more my style I think. The characters look unique and identifiable and it just looks awesome. It's not beautiful, but it's edgy and I really like it. Only thing I would say is...these characters do NOT look like they are under 12. I am around kids who are under 12 every day...and they don't look like that at all. Craig...looks like he's 16 or something, which kept throwing me off. Everyone looked very old besides the really younger kids. But al...more
Kellie Sheridan
Review originally posted at

Looking at some of the reviews on Goodreads, it’s obvious that not enough people read this book growing up. More than one mentioned how the idea of a dystopia where there are no parents isn’t a new concept, but for me… The Girl Who Owned a City is the original. This story is older than I am, and still holds up today. It’s probably fair to say that it’s a less realistic version of how events might unfold than some of the newer versions, but you can’t deny t...more
I really enjoyed Lisa's character. She is totally boss and likes to keep it that way. Even when others tell her to share the leadership. She comes up with 98% of the plans and gets stuff done! Her brother Todd is a total cutie and has some great ideas as well. I really wanted to ship Lisa and Craig, but this is a Middle Grades graphic novel, so. I mean, he looks like Daniel Radcliffe! Sigh.

I read Troublemaker #1 which was also by Joelle Jones. I love her illustrations! It...more
After an epidemic wipes out all the adults, Lisa and her younger brother Todd, use their wits to survive. First scavenging nearby homes and farms using their father's car, then hitting warehouses and gathering supplies ranging from vegetables to vitamins from the beginning the pair end up being a rallying point for their neighborhood, attracting both followers and enemies trying to steal what they've worked hard to create.

Lisa sets up her city in an old school building and faces off with the pow...more
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