In Re-Gifters , fiery Korean teen Dixie woos hapkido dojang--mate Adam with an expensive gift, but Adam's heartthrob is glam-girl Megan. Meanwhile, Dixie's fighting spirit gets the attention of school bad boy, loan shark, and bookmaker Tomas, a.k.a. Dillinger. Affections change as the gift changes hands, and when Adam tries to get Dixie to throw the hapkido championship, Dixie is ready to respond to Tomas's real affection and support despite his reputation. This delightful martial arts romantic comedy shows fine plotting, simpatico characters, and fluid, manga-influenced art. The Plain Janes tells a more complex and darker tale with plainer, Dan Clowes--style art. Caught in a terrorist attack, high schooler Jane changes hair, mindset, and--compelled by her frightened parents--city and school. Spurning the in-crowd, she recruits other outcast Janes to stage guerilla-style art attacks, tagged P.L.A.I.N.: People Loving Art in Neighborhoods. The hyperparanoid authorities are not amused, but P.L.A.I.N. wins over most of the other kids. The premise is intriguing, relevant, and disturbing, even as the resolution leaves more questions. When is an art attack sabotage, graffiti, or vandalism? How can people reinvent their lives despite fear? DC's new Minx line promises eclectic, real-world stories that honor girls' intelligence and assertiveness, and these two titles deliver. Recommended for teens up.--M.C.[Page 64]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
DC Comics' imprint of graphic novels for girls, Minx, starts off with a bang with this elegant story of art in the suburbs. As Jane walks past a sidewalk caf in Metro City, a terrorist's bomb goes off. Her parents, overtaken by fear, move the family to the small town of Kent Waters. The popular girls at Buzz Aldrin High court her, but Jane wants to be an outsider. She finds three other girls named Jane, all of them unpopular in different ways--one is "Brain Jane," one an aspiring actress and one an athlete--and together the four of them make "art attacks" on the city, leaving the name P.L.A.I.N. (People Loving Art In Neighborhoods) wherever they go. They build pyramids on the site of a planned strip mall ("The pyramids lasted for thousands of years. Do you think this strip mall will?") and populate the police department's lawn with gnomes. But to a community consumed with elevated threat levels, the attacks seem more ominous than generous, and P.L.A.I.N. becomes an outlaw group. All the while, Jane continues to write letters to John Doe, the unidentified man whose life she saved during the bombing--and who sits in a hospital, comatose, his sketchbook serving as her muse. Castellucci (Boy Proof ) and Rugg (co-creator of Street Angel) nimbly make their larger point--that fear is an indulgence we must give ourselves permission to overcome--without ever preaching, and without neglecting the dynamics of a page-turning coming-of-age story. Ages 12-up. (May)[Page 56]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Gr 7-10-- Young adult author Castellucci makes her graphic-novel debut with this quirky comic. Jane's parents relocate to the suburbs when she's caught in a bomb attack in Metro City. Bored and lonely in her new town and school, the teen is thrilled when she meets three other girls named Jane, all of them as out of place as she is. They form a secret club, the Plain Janes, and decide to liven up the town with art. Some people like their work, but most are frightened, and the local police call the Plain Janes' work "art attacks." Castellucci gives each girl a distinct personality, and spirited, compassionate Main Jane is especially captivating. Rugg's drawings aren't in superhero or manga style, but resemble the more spare, clean style of alternative comics creators such as Dan Clowes and Craig Thompson. A thoughtful look at the pressures to conform and the importance of self-expression, this is also a highly accessible read. Regular comics readers will enjoy it, but fans of soul-searching, realistic young adult fiction should know about it as well.--Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY[Page 222]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.