Thursday, March 11, 2010

Review: Janes in Love by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg

Janes in Love by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg is the sequel to The Plain Janes (read my review) and completes the story arc. I loved The Plain Janes—however, my feelings about the sequel were mixed. I did like some aspects better, although overall I enjoyed this book less.

What I liked:
– The device of writing to Miroslaw allows Main Jane to meditate on a series of important questions: What is art? What is the purpose of art? What is the price of art? I thought this was very well done.
– Although the story ostensibly focuses on the Janes’ search for love, friendship is portrayed as being just as important as romantic love.
– My favourite two-page spread in either book follows the two pages pictured below: I really felt like I was there, peeking over Main Jane’s shoulder (and sharing her excitement) as she opened her package.

Click on photo to enlarge

What I liked less:
– The plot point left hanging at the end of The Plain Janes is glossed over in this book.
– I felt like I was missing something with respect to Theater Jane’s crush. Where did he come from?
– The secret admirer subplot seemed contrived and didn’t really go anywhere—I didn’t see the point of it.*
– The focus on love and the Janes’ quest for legitimacy made the story and their art less edgy.

If you’ve read and enjoyed The Plain Janes, you must read this book, which provides a satisfying ending to the story. I just wish there were more in this series to read!

To read other reviews of this book, visit these blogs:
bildungsroman (review of both The Plain Janes and Janes in Love) • FOB ComicsHypothetically SpeakingKids LitThe Zen Leaf

Read an interview with author Cecil Castellucci:
Girls Read Comics

I read a library copy of this book.

*And, as it turns out, I may not have understood this subplot at all—my sister Brogan, who also read the book, was left with the impression that the secret admirer was someone other than who I thought it was. (If you’ve read the book, please don’t reveal this person’s identity in the comments, but feel free to email me and let me know who you think it was.)


  1. hmm interesting I will have to check these books out. Sounds kinda good Avis thanks for sharing

  2. I felt almost exactly the same way about this book. The subplot with Theatre Jane's crush and the secret admirer really confused me. I liked some parts of the book a lot, but some parts fell flat.

  3. Too bad this didn't live up to Plain Janes. I still think I'd like to read the series.

  4. I've only read 2 graphic memoirs, nonovels. Have been thinking that I should try one this year to expand my horizons a little more.
    Wanted to let you know I gave you an award on my blog today:

  5. I'll have to check these out. I just started reading graphic novels so I'm looking for new ones to add to my list.

  6. Cindy, I think you'd enjoy them!

    Amanda, we've already discussed this by email, but yeah, some of this book fell flat for me too. And yet I also loved parts of it!

    Kathy, ditto what I said to Cindy, I think you'd enjoy them!

    Carin, I'm curious about which graphic memoirs you've read! My current obsession with comics started with reading The Impostor's Daughter, which is a great graphic memoir. Thanks for the award -- I will post about it soon!

    Kathleen, I'm off to check out what graphic novels you've reviewed on your blog!