TEEN BOOK BATTLE
Both of these books are Graphic Novels, but with very different styles.
THE PLAIN JANES by Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg
Finally, a Graphic Novel that I can really relate to! The art work wasn’t as fantastic as some I’ve seen, but the story line was brilliant and well written…and BELIEVABLE. No “Super Heros” or people with extraordinary powers involved here; just regular high school students. Fancy that!
A terrorist bomb goes off in the city and Jane survives, but a stranger beside her is injured and no one knows his identity. Though he is in a coma, Jane visits him in the hospital and steals his notebook which says “Art Saves” on the cover. She too, is artistic and when her frightened parents decide to move the family to the suburbs, Jane continues to write letters to this patient.
Meanwhile, at her new school, Jane becomes friends with a group of brainy outcasts – all named Jane. They work together to form a “guerrilla” art group to create and leave anonymous art projects throughout the community. Will Art save Jane?
The Children of the Sea by Daisuke Igarashi
The black and white drawings as well as the colored paintings in this graphic novel were beautiful! Unfortunately, the text was not only sparse, but difficult to follow because it was printed right to left and bottom to top in the Japanese style. So, start at “the back” of the book and read the panels from the bottom up, left page first.
The story is supposed to be about a path that connects the sea to space, but somehow I must have missed that connection, because I never got that. To me, this seemed to be sort of a story within a story, where the narrator is telling the tale of the Sea Children to Ruka and then she is encountering aspects of that tale in her real life. Ruka is a girl who, after injuring another soccer player, is kicked off the team and decides to hop a bus to downtown Tokyo where she visits an aquarium and sees a mysterious boy named Umi swimming there. It turns out that Umi was raised by manatees just like the Sea Children.
There is a T+ rating on this book (meaning for older teens) supposedly because of “disturbing imagery” although -once again- I didn’t see anything amiss. Perhaps they were talking about the one picture of the dead whale that was washed up on the beach?
Of the two books I GREATLY preferred Plain Janes. I like a good story. I could follow this one easily and it was well written. If you enjoy Graphic Novels because of the artwork, then The Children of the Sea would be a better choice for you. (Good luck with making sense out of the story.)