Summary: After Jane is caught in terrorist attack on Metro City, she can’t go back to being the person she was before. Her parents move her out of the city and she draws inspiration from a sketchbook she picked up from a man in a coma after the attack. With a new haircut and a new perspective, Jane seeks out other outcasts in her new school even when the popular crowd approaches her to join them. Together they perform random acts of art around town, stirring things up and encouraging people to take a closer look at their surroundings.
Number of Pages: 147
Age Range: 13-15
Review: I enjoyed this one. I think my favourite art attack the P.L.A.I.N Janes did was the one where they tied empty soda bottles with messages in them to hang from tree branches. Well, that and the glitter/paint ball at New Years. So imaginative!
But what I especially liked was that the art was Jane’s response to her changing world. She went through something in Metro City, surviving a bomb attack and saving the life of a man in a coma, and instead of making her life smaller and not trusting anything like her mother does, she decides instead to spread love and awareness. The Janes challenge an entire community to see things differently, and to consider what an attack really means. Art does end up changing people in the town, even though Jane sometimes finds herself discouraged about their efforts.
At the end, as Castellucci predicted herself when I heard her speak a couple of weeks ago, I wished I had the sequel handy to read as well because the ending is a bit of a cliff-hanger. Unfortunately it wasn’t at my local library to borrow, so I’ll have to put it on hold and read it later. I can’t wait.
“When the Janes and I are doing our art thing I feel like I’m giving a piece of joy to everyone.
It’s like I am asking the world to keep me safe by making them pause for just one minute.” Jane from The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
“…I worry that art doesn’t change anything or anyone.
And I don’t want to face the day.
Why is the world so full of hate? I can’t bear it.
Today nothing is beautiful. Maybe tomorrow.” – Jane from The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
“Is she going to let me get my own apartment? Go to college? Travel the world?
She’s so afraid that she’s going to make me afraid of the whole universe. I don’t want to be like that.” – Jane from The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
“I had to tell myself that when I opened my eyes, I needed to be prepared to see the worst thing ever. And when I did it was even worse.
I feel like I’m always going to have this big black hole inside of me. Like I’m never going to be ok. Like I’m always going to be afraid.” – Jane from The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg