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The Plain Janes (Janes #1)

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  6,327 Ratings  ·  672 Reviews
Noted young adult novelist Cecil Castellucci and artist Jim Rugg launch Minx with the Plain Janes, a story about four girls named Jane. When transfer student Jane is forced to move from the confines of Metro City to Suburbia, she thinks her life is over. But there is the lunch room at the reject table she finds her tribe: three other girls named Jane. Main Jane encourages ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published May 2nd 2007 by Minx (first published 2007)
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Jackie "the Librarian"
Dec 14, 2007 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: arty girls
Take back your world! Jane survives a bomb attack, and her freaked out parents move the family to the "safer" suburbs. But Jane takes the spirit of the city with her - she has a plan, she just needs to put together a team to carry it out. Then she spots the other Janes in the lunchroom, and soon convinces them to join her in her guerilla art projects. I love the active role these girls take, and the humor and positiveness of what they do. And I love that these are real girls portrayed with reali ...more
Jennifer de Guzman
Aug 09, 2007 Jennifer de Guzman rated it it was ok
When I first read this book, it was a preview galley, and I thought that pages must be missing from the end. But this was not the case. While the book has an interesting premise and very nice art by Jim Rugg (his Street Angel work is far more dynamic and full of detail, however--I say that as the editor of SA, mind you), it falls flat in execution. Characters are not fleshed out sufficiently; believability is a problem (where do 16-year-old girls get hundreds of garden gnomes?); and, the worst o ...more
Sep 06, 2016 Licha rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novel, series
2.5 stars

This book wanted to have heart. The premise started off really good. Jane is at a coffee shop when a bomb goes off. She is traumatized by the event but the only thing that keeps her hanging on is a stranger she helped keep safe during the attack. The stranger has been in a coma and no one knows who he is. Jane however visits him everyday and reads to him. Her mother is so terrified of losing Jane after the event that the whole family moves to a small town, hoping to hide and stay safe f
Jul 07, 2012 Chibineko rated it liked it
I'm a little undecided as to what I feel about this book.

On one hand, this definitely achieved its goal of being a quirky and offbeat book. On the other hand, it isn't perfect. The book tends to jump between scenes too quickly and doesn't flesh out the characters as much as I'd have liked them to be. I also had problems imagining that the town would get that angry and freaked out over the town being art bombed. I've lived in my fair share of ultra-conservative areas where groups would art bomb
Apr 23, 2016 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I thought it would be gayer :(
Mar 20, 2009 Monica rated it liked it
This was my first encounter with Cecil Castellucci, Jim Rugg, and Minx books (the DC comics division developed specifically for teenage girls) so I can honestly say I went into "The Plain Janes" not knowing what to expect. What I found was a comic book that I would have LOVED had I been 15, with absolutely no insight into how high-school really worked.

"The Plain Janes" is about a young girl named Jane (the main Jane), who moves out to the suburbs with her parents following an incident in Metro
Jan 20, 2008 Jenny rated it really liked it
Castellucci's (of Boy Proof fame-- totally good) first graphic novel. From the hip new Minx imprint. Nice mix of homeland security style paranoia and exuberant teenage art loving. The title Janes are actually a group of girls all named Jane, total social rejects, who start a top secret guerrilla art group. And the graphics are really nice too.
Olivia Williford (LivTheBookNerd)
Writing Style Grade: C :: 3 stars
Art Style Grade: C :: 3 stars
Character Grade: C- :: 2.5 stars
Story Rating: 2.5 stars = C-

I didn't like this as much as I thought I would. The characters weren't fleshed out like I had hoped they would be. Some of the events that happened weren't very realistic, and I had a hard time liking this graphic novel.
Aug 15, 2015 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
I liked the art, but I'm not sure I loved the main Jane. Seemed like she chose her friends based on who she thought was worthy of her. The worthy outsiders were likable, but rather stereotypical.
I’m a sucker for this shit. Fiesty girls taking on the world, trying to make it a better place, and trying to better themselves in the process. I even cried twice. (Thanks, PMS.)
Well, since my library didn’t have Watchmen or Persepolis and I was in the mood for a graphic novel, I ended up picking this one. I really liked the cover art and the back of the book asks the question “But can art really save a group of misfits from the hell that is high school?” That sounded kind of familiar so I decided to give it a try. In high school I was definitely a plain Jane (still am, whoop whoop!), and some of my favorite memories are the ones that took place in the art room. Art was ...more
Sep 23, 2015 Em rated it liked it
Em's Review: After a terrorist bombing in Metro City nearly takes her life, Jane decides that in order to survive she will need to become a new Jane. She gets a new look, turns to art, and finds hope in the Art Saves sketchbook belonging to John Doe, an unidentified victim of the attack who lies in a coma in a Metro City hospital. Her parents, feeling rattled from the terrorist attack and their daughter’s brush with death, move the family to the suburbs seeking a sense of security. In her new sc ...more
Megan C
This graphic novel was mediocre at best, but I liked the artwork and there was enough of something in the plot that kept me reading. All the characters, however, seem pretty flat.

Jane, or the 'Main' Jane, as we understand from her screenname later when all the Janes are in a chatroom (why did she become the Main Jane? I'm not really sure, as she's the newest member to the group) moves to the suburbs after a bombing in Metro City. After cutting and dying her own hair (when her parents own a salo
Aug 07, 2015 Cassie rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Fans of "Girl" fiction, Coming of Age enthusiasts
Recommended to Cassie by: Website on Graphic Novels created by Females
This book was one that I decided to read because I saw a list of graphic novels created by females. Based on that list when I saw this at my local library I decided to finally give it a go. When I review a book I always look for the positive in it because well that is just who I am. I do not like reviewing a book and saying bad things about it. This being said I won't bash this book even though I did not enjoy it. The reason that I did not enjoy it was probably my own fault. This to me was like ...more
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 ...more
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Sharni Benson
Jul 20, 2014 Sharni Benson rated it really liked it
A girl is a victim of a terrorist attack and decides to reinvent herself to get away from that memory. There is another victim who is in a coma at the hospital where she woke up. She saved him and feels a connection to him. She writes him letters when her parents move away from Metro City, fearing that it is not safe there.
As part of reinventing herself she decides she doesn't want to be the shallow popular girl anymore so tries to befriend the misfits table, all called Jane. She finds that they
LFPL Teen Services
Oct 08, 2007 LFPL Teen Services rated it really liked it
What is art? Think of a piece of art that you are familiar with. Do you think that art is something that can be created under the cover of night with flashlights and black ski masks while trying desperately to elude the police?
The secret gang called P.L.A.I.N. (People Loving Art is Neighborhoods) are on a mission – to transform their sleepy suburban town into a living and breathing work of art that goes beyond just enjoying artwork from afar. They have made the town and streets part of their a
This was disappointing because I love the premise, but the delivery is so cliche it's almost a parody. The characters are walking stereotypes to the point of hyperbole. Drama Jane is basically the teacher from High School Musical, wearing scarves and long black dresses and quoting The Theatre at all times; Smart Jane wears glasses and a pocket protector and actually says the words "I calculate" and "my calculations". Sporty Jane wears hoodies and ponytails, and then there's Cindy:

You see what I
Aug 01, 2008 Agathafrye rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: guerrilla artists, teens, geeks, and oddballs
Recommended to Agathafrye by: Angie G; Jackie M; Kristi S; Kelsie R; Jenny P; etc. etc.
Awesome. I had this recommended to me a bunch of times, and I finally just read it. Jane moves from "Metro City" to the burbs following an explosion in the city a la 9-11 that unnerves her parents. She meets three other Janes that sit together during lunch so that they don't have to sit alone, but who don't actually appear to be friends otherwise. New School Jane devises a plan to create guerrilla art in the town, and recruits the other Janes to her cause. They call their group P.L.A.I.N; for pe ...more
Aug 29, 2009 Vicki rated it really liked it
Jane survives a bombing in Metro City and after she recovers, her parents decide to move to a faraway suburban area, hoping it will make them feel safer. Jane, of course, already knows that no place is actually safe. Take the town where they're now living -- everybody seems asleep to Jane. But she finds a table full of rejects, all of them named Jane, and she decides that they are her people. Eventually, the Janes form a group dedicated to performing acts of art -- bringing art to a somewhat lif ...more
Rebecca Weimert
Rebecca Weimert
Graphic Novel

Jane aka Main Jane is devastated when she is forced to move from the city to the suburbs. Jane was a victim of a bombing in the city and her parents do not believe the city is safe anymore. Once in the suburbs Jane struggles to make friends, but she meets a group of girls whose names is also Jane. The Jane’s form a secret club named P.L.A.I.N. and go through the town convincing everyone to love art. The notes and projects they leave however do not convince the citizen
Nov 24, 2009 Laura rated it it was ok
I was expecting this graphic novel to be interesting because I had heard about it on another author's blog, but I was sadly disappointed. The illustrations were okay, but I felt like the text of this novel was lacking because it expected the artwork to fill in the rest of the details. The characters were unbelievable in their actions and I found myself terribly annoyed with their cookie-cutter thoughts. If this novel wanted to succeed it would have needed more character development and a more fl ...more
Megan Marvel
The concept was neat, but it wasn't realistic. The town Jane moves to overreacts to such simple "attacks" in a way that is completely unbelievable. For example, after an "art attack," the school closes all after school clubs and activities (not realistic) and sets a curfew and orders the kids to go straight home, no mall time, no friend time (not realistic). See what I mean? They can't enforce any of this. It just can't be done. There was so much more I could say, but I'll limit it to this last ...more
May 16, 2007 Jamil rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics

this book is the first release from Minx, which is the dc comics graphic novel imprint aimed at teenage girl readers. so, yeah, i'm kinda outside the demographic for that -- and judging by the previews for future titles in the back, probably will remain so. (the only other one which holds any interest for me is "Good as Lily" by Derek Kirk Kim & Jesse Hamm).

anyway, this wasn't bad. and it's actually not too heavy handed in it's exploration of things like terror(ism) & art & identity,
Mar 05, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This cute little graphic novel tells a story about how four girls named Jane/Jayne/whatever the spelling you want decide to spice things up in their boring little suburban town. They start P.L.A.I.N, People Loving Art in Neighborhoods. They decorate fire hydrants with scarves and burst into song at noon. And they start recruiting. Soon even the cheerleaders are claiming to be members of P.L.A.I.N, even though cops and school officers are claiming the art is vandalism. A subplot is that Jane is o ...more
Gabe Prepetit
Jun 19, 2016 Gabe Prepetit rated it it was amazing
The plain Janes was an interesting book/ graphic novel. It was the first graphic novel I had ever read it exceeded my expectations on what a graphic novel would be like. To my surprise it had a very good plot with the main character experiencing a terror attack and she completely changes herself and her life style afterwards. It had a great ending with Jane (the main character) and her group of friends dropping a ball full of paint off their towns clock tower on New Years. The book had action, a ...more
Jan 03, 2013 Ami rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
A group of stereotypes diverse friends named Jane (or a variation thereof) form a secret art girl gang that makes art "attacks" at night in public places. The main character survived an actual bomb attack in her former home city, during which she found a sketchbook from a man next to her who ended up in a coma. She writes to him throughout the story. I'm not making it sound quite as cool as it was, and it's a unique idea for a book, especially the guy-centric world of graphic novels. Loved that ...more
Liz B
A city girl moves to the suburbs and starts an "art attack" movement.

This was enjoyable but felt kind of thin. I like reading graphic novels on occasion (though it's much more work for me than reading a regular novel) and I find myself going back and re-reading (re-viewing) some sections over and over. This one was good for was easy to miss nuances when I wasn't paying enough attention to the drawings.

Still, the ending wasn't particularly satisfying, and I felt too limited by Jane's po
Kate McCartney
Oct 26, 2007 Kate McCartney rated it it was amazing
I love this book. Maybe it was because I always thought what the Gorrila Grrlz did was so cool. I love that the Jane's do random acts of art in their suburban town. I love how it calls into question where our priorties lie in the scary world we are currently living in. Building more shopping centers, imposing curfews and terror alerts are not ways to calm fears. I even enjoyed how almost all the characters (The police officer excluded) all were great. Even when you think the popular girl is goin ...more
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HMSA Reads: book review: The Plain Janes 1 8 Jan 07, 2017 06:19PM  
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Cecil Castellucci is an author of young adult novels and comic books. Titles include Boy Proof, The Year of the Beasts (illustrated by Nate Powell), First Day on Earth, Rose Sees Red, Beige, The Queen of Cool The Plain Janes and Janes in Love (illustrated by Jim Rugg), Tin Star Stone in the Sky, Odd Duck (illustrated by Sara Varon) and Star Wars: Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure.

Her short
More about Cecil Castellucci...

Other Books in the Series

Janes (2 books)
  • Janes in Love (Janes, #2)

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