Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg

After a bombing in Metro City, Jane's parents decided to move to the quiet suburbs where it's "safe."  Jane has no desire to join the "popular" crowd at her new school, although she would have been welcomed in.  Instead, she befriends three girls, all named Jane.  Together they start an organization called P.L.A.I.N - People Loving Art in Neighborhoods - and create stealth art pieces all around town.  While most people find joy in the art, the police call it vandalism and are determine to catch the artists.  Jane's mother doesn't like the art pieces either.  It makes her afraid that people can sneak around town doing things unseen.  It makes her even more overprotective than before.  Jane is determined to keep creating art.  Art and the Janes is the only thing that makes her happy.

After the bombing, which sent Jane to the hospital, different things become important to her.  When she gets to her new school, she isn't interested in being popular.  She wants to be happy and find people who will support her in doing things she loves.  She finds this in the Janes, but the Janes all have the desire to be part of other groups.  One wants to be friends with the popular girl, one wants to be part of the theater crowed, one wants her chance on the athletic field.  Jane wants to show them that they don't need that.  They're the coolest group around!

I liked that although Jane had a traumatic experience, she refused to let it scare her.  She didn't want to hide.  It gave her the bravery to do her own thing and not care what people thought.  Jane helped the other girls see that they could be happy with who they are.  They should embrace their passion and not worry about people who might try to put them down.

There is also a sequel, Janes in Love.

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