Cathy's Reviews > The Girl Who Owned a City

The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson
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's review
Dec 12, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: manga-graphic-novel, reluctant-readers, youngadult
Read in December, 2011

I got this ARC from Net Galley (dot) com for an honest review.

Tweet summary:
After a virus wipes out everyone over 12 on Earth and turns them to dust, 10-year-old Lisa must take care of her younger brother and figure out how to survive in this new world.

This is a graphic novel adaptation of a 1975 novel by O.T. Nelson. The quality of the illustrations by Joelle Jones lends modern elements to a 37-year-old story, and the timing is right to join the dystopian YA market that is always looking for the next Katniss, but for me, the test of a good graphic novel is 1) will I be able to "sell" it to my reluctant readers and 2) will it make them want to read the longer novel that the GN stemmed from?

The adaptation by Dan Jolley pulls readers in, but what we look for in YA characters is not what we were looking for back in 1975 (I'm guessing, since I wasn't a teen yet). What seems to date this character is that in recent dystopian YA novels, authors have been using the YA novel as a platform to teach social mores and ethics through their characters. The selfishness and 2-dimensional aspect of Lisa and the fact that she doesn't seem to grow or learn from her mistake bothered me until I realized that she's supposed to be 10-11. However, since she's not drawn like a tween character, readers will accept her as older than she really is. Since teens like reading about characters that are their age or older, this is a great "sell" for YA readers, although I'm not sure if they will be willing to read the 204 page original novel.

The illustrations are enough to sell it, and even at 132 pages, it's a good deal for dystopian and GN buffs.
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