Megan Mathes's Reviews > The Plain Janes

The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci
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Jul 03, 2012

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Read on July 03, 2012

I wanted to like this more than I did, and I might recommend it for a middle-school aged girl. I was hoping it would be a good read for 9th-10th graders, but the story ultimately seems a little thin and, bigger problem, there's no character development. Other than the narrator--the Main Jane--the rest of the characters are straight stereotypes: theater type, brainy type, sporty type, gay best friend who loves glitter and shopping, Mean Girl Cindy. Even more disappointing, the adults are all unreasonably jumpy, judgmental caricatures--little more than plot devices, really. They're reminiscent of the parents in John Hughes films. Perhaps the writer's choice to paint her characters in such broad strokes is a nod to the book's theme of simplicity and plainness making the best, most accessible art, but I wanted more. As for Rugg's art--it supports the story admirably but doesn't do much to enhance or deepen it.

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