One of my goals for 2012 was to read at least three books written for an adult audience. Considering that I often go on young adult fiction binges that can last upwards of eleven months, planning to read three was doable, but certainly not a given. I'm proud to say that as of April 11, 2012, when I completed Sherman Alexie's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, three of the eight books I've read since January 1, were not written for adolescents! (Insert my happy dance here—which bears a striking resemblance to the twins' moves.)
That said, I want to share a graphic novel (written for young adults) I recently read with you. Meet the Janes, who are the cast of characters in The Plain Janes, a tale written by Cecil Castellucci and illustrated by Jim Rugg.
After the main Jane's parents move her to suburbia in the name of safety, our leading lady manages to make friends with three other Janes-of-various-spellings. Together, they form The P.L.A.I.N. Janes, a secret "art girl gang" whose mission is to create thought-provoking public art, in hopes of inspiring their strip-mall loving neighbors to appreciate beauty. P.L.A.I.N. = People Loving Art in Neighborhoods.
Reasons these Janes are kind of my kindred:
- Main Jane's (far left above) first thought as she stares at the sky from the perfectly manicured lawn in her new yard, notebook by her side, bird chirping overhead: "I'm in hell."
- And as she enters her new high school, she tells herself: "Remember it's just four years . . . Om, and all that."
- Jane-with-the-bob (second from right above) puts on a prosthetic nose and recites from Cyrano De Bergerac when she tries out for the school's production of Grease, much to the horror of the "cool" girls running the auditions.
- "I want her to stop worrying and love the world again." —Main Jane, speaking about her mom.
- P.L.A.I.N. projects include: installing hundreds of stuffed animals outside an animal shelter with clever signs encouraging pet adoption; a message bottle tree, with instructions like dance, hug, and skip inside the hanging bottles; and yarn bombing parking meters and fire hydrants with striped cozies.
No doubt you understand why I would invite the P.L.A.I.N. Janes to help fulfill my birthday mission. These girls would be all over #s 5, 9, and 12!
p.s. You're still totally invited to help fulfill my birthday mission, too. The Janes would be so proud, and I would be impressed, grateful, and a lot of other positive adjectives!