The Plain Janes (Janes, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Plain Janes (Janes #1)

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  4,890 ratings  ·  562 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 May 1st 2007)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Plain Janes, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Plain Janes

Watchmen by Alan MooreThe Complete Maus by Art SpiegelmanV for Vendetta by Alan MooreThe Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil GaimanThe Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Best Graphic Novels
212th out of 1,693 books — 4,062 voters
Smile by Raina TelgemeierThe Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian SelznickBone, Vol. 1 by Jeff SmithDiary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff KinneyAmulet, Vol. 1 by Kazu Kibuishi
Best Graphic Novels for Children
90th out of 531 books — 613 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jackie "the Librarian"
Dec 14, 2007 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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...more
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...more
Sharni Benson
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...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
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
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...more
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
LFPL Teen Services
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...more

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,...more
The Plain Janes
by Cecil Castellucci
Published in 2007

Genre: YA Graphic Novel

Format: Graphic Novel

Plot Summary: "Relocated to suburbia after a brush with disaster in the big city (and fueled by an urge not to be terrified of the world as a result), Jane rallies a small group of outcasts into a team of 'art terrorists,' shaking the town from its conservative complacency by putting bubbles in the city fountain and wrapping objects on the street as Christmas packages. Their activities end up rallying...more
Kate McCartney
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
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...more
Jan 03, 2013 Ami rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Ian Wood
This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's novels reviewed on the blog will generally have some images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.

I rated this novel worthy!


The Plain Janes is not wha...more
When teenager Jane is a bystander to a terrorist bombing in Metro City (aka New York), her parents freak out and decide to move way out to the suburbs, where life is supposedly safe. Unfortunately for her, this is some kind of mythical suburbia where there are almost no freaks and geeks, and apparently no one into interesting art or music or anything cool like they have in Metro City. Yeah.... right...

Unfortunately for the reader, Jane is a classic big city cultural snob, which makes her pretty...more
Such a good book, with a lot of personal weight. I was given this book at about eight or nine, and was initially taken aback by such a subversive plot portrayed in a positive light. At this age. I was smothered with books about creativity, but inspired by few of them: They seemed a little... safe. Limited. All with the omniscient, ever-kind adults and protagonist who in the end, learns his place in the world and how to fit in. Although art and creativity were encouraged in these books, every sem...more
Loved this graphic novel. Thought it was an enjoyable and provocative read for alternative youth. The content addresses serious issues without being overly dramatic. I especially appreciated the commentary on art in times of tragedy, fear and suspicion. Creative, ecclectic and brave, I think this is a great novel for feminist-minded (and aspiring feminist-minded) folk.
Four artsy-geek high school girls who all happen to be named a variation of Jane start creating anonymous art in their suburban neighborhood. Has lot of high school stereotypes -- the braniac, the theater geek, the fabulously gay president of the queer club, etc, but in a good way. The ending was a little abrupt, but overall, I really enjoyed 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.
Jane has just moved from her big city life in Metro City to Suburbia. At first she hates her new life because she still has a strong love for the city. It was because of a great disaster caused by a bomb that traumatized Jane's parents that gave them reason to move where they would feel safer. So, Jane tries her best to cope. She finds out very quickly in this new school that there are many clicks. She is invited to the popular table, but refuses the invitation and sits with a group of girls who...more
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.)
Eric Piotrowski
While I like the concept behind this story (art liberates and heals us), the telling has some serious problems. The artwork is clear and defined, and the pacing is fine.

The biggest drawback for me is plausibility. I work with high-school kids every day, and the complexity of this plot hatched by five (perfectly diverse, socially if not racially) teenagers is unrealistic. Seeing five teens agree on what to call the project would be a monumental achievement in itself. (Don't get me wrong -- I'd l...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...more
I keep fluctuating between two and two-and-a-half stars.

In spite of Jim Rugg's skillful artwork, the story grated on me. I couldn't help but compare it to Laura Lee Gulledge's Page by Paige which has the same basic plotline (artsy girl moves to a new school, joins a semi-secret club of artistic outsiders who put installations in public places; meanwhile, she struggles with some mother-daughter tension). But The Plain Janes is full of painful high school stereotypes and clichéd dialogue. The pop...more
The Loft
Jane’s parents freaked after a terrorist attack and moved from Metro City to the suburbs, and so did Jane. But what’s in the suburbs for Jane? She is not a suburban girl. At her new school, the popular girls invite her over . . . should she go sit with them?

When the terrorist attack happened, Jane saved a man’s journal. He was really hurt, and he is in the hospital now, and Jane visits him. He didn’t have a wallet, so they call him John Doe. But for Jane, his journal keeps him alive, and the jou...more
Becky R.
Plain Janes is an interesting, comic sort of story right from the get go. With Jane's move from Metro City, where she experienced a traumatic bombing (in the first several frames), there is more to Jane's back story than expected. I know that I found myself trying to figure out if "Metro City" was supposed to be some city today, with some connection to an attack or event, but I had to give that up to go with the story. Although Jane has experienced something traumatic, that has changed who she i...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I think there is a lot about The Plain Janes that appeals to teens. First, there is the feeling of being alone that we all feel at times. To go with this, the way Jane seeks those special people to have in her life is very familiar to many of us, especially when we are teens. There is also the humor in the book. Amidst all of the serious topics, such as the bombing, the humor kept the book from being all serious. Next, the book had a bit of rebellion in it, which most teens would enjoy. The book...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Re-Gifters
  • Good as Lily
  • Token
  • Emiko Superstar
  • Breaking Up (Fashion High Graphic Novel)
  • Kimmie66
  • Mercury
  • Page by Paige
  • The War at Ellsmere
  • The Eternal Smile: Three Stories
  • Pitch Black
  • Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong
  • To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel
  • Laika
  • Robot Dreams
  • Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty
  • Garage Band
  • Brain Camp
Cecil Castellucci is an author of young adult novels and comic books, most notably Boy Proof and The PLAIN Janes. Upcoming in 2014 is book one of her new sci duology TIN STAR.

She is also the author of The Year of the Beasts, First Day on Earth, Rose Sees Red, Beige, The Queen of Cool and Janes in Love. Her short stories can be found in various anthologies such as After, Teeth, Truth & Dare, Th...more
More about Cecil Castellucci...
Boy Proof Janes in Love (Janes, #2) Odd Duck Beige The Year of the Beasts

Share This Book

“It's a fact of life. Hearts are always hurting. And yet they still keep pumping.” 18 likes
“Who needs a stupid grampa-loving, book-reading, good-smelling boy who I like to talk to?” 1 likes
More quotes…