Amanda’s December Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

Hello, lovelies! Another month that I’ve actually managed to read some of my graphic novels that I already own. I’m going to keep this intro brief so we can get into my thoughts on what I read in the month of December.

The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg

This is a bind up of three different stories. I don’t know that the stories were ever published separately, but going into this graphic novel I didn’t realize that is was three different stories. I really loved this. These three stories were each wonderful in their own ways. In the first story, The Plain Janes, Jane has just moved to the suburbs from the city after she was in a bomb attack. She has PTSD and despite this happening in the city, she didn’t want to leave. She’s worried that she won’t make new friends. She’s a teen that is having to move during high school. So, her fears and worries are normal. But Jane is also an artist. She finds friends in three girls who are all also named Jane. In the first book, their friendship was focused on P.L.A.I.N. which was their name for the street art that they were doing together. This story was so fun, the girls planning what they were going to do next and basking in a successful execution. But the police are upset about the art and enact curfews, certain that it’s teenagers doing these art attacks. This doesn’t stop the girls, and their friendship grows. Janes in Love, the second book, is focused on Valentine’s Day and the love interests of each of the Janes (and James who is the only gay boy that is out in their school). I thought this story was sweet and fun. I liked that the color scheme of the art changed to a pretty pinks to reflect the theme of the story. Though this story focuses on love and romance and relationships, there’s still a focus on art too. Art saves and I loved that message in all three stories. In the final story, Janes Attack Back, Jane is feeling like her friends are drifting from what brought them together, art. They are all working on college applications, new hobbies and interests, and Jane feels like she’s doing the brunt of the work for P.L.A.I.N. On top of this, there’s a new girl at school and everyone loves her, but Jane can’t seem to anything other than butt heads with her. I think this was a really great story about friends all having their own interesting, but still being friends. It talks about how friends need to be able to tell their friends what they need from them and when. I loved all three of these stories so much. I also want to mention, in the first story, during the bombing, Jane was saved by a man that didn’t have any identification. So, he is in the hospital in a coma as a John Doe afterwards. She visits him often, but after she moves she writes him letters. I won’t say anything further, but this relationship was one of my favorite things about this story. They are two people from different parts of the world connected by a trauma. I think it was a wonderful addition to this story. Okay, I’ve gone on long enough. Long story short, I loved this graphic novel and I highly recommend it.

Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo

I absolutely loved this author/illustrator duo’s previous work (Teen Titans: Raven) so, I was super excited to pick up this next installment of the series. Beast Boy follows Gar in his daily life. I liked that this was a slice of life kind of story. It’s Gar’s senior year and he’s upset that he hasn’t completed anything from his list of goals for his final year of high school. The story starts with him reviewing the list and being more determined to tackle any of the items on the list. We also get to see his two best friends, Tank and Stella, try to hype him up when Gar is hyper focused on his insecurities. I think that’s the one thing I didn’t like about this book. Gar is so focused on the fact that he’s short and thin, he craves to be in with the popular crowd. I get this is something many teens feel, but I wish we could have seen him get over this. I loved how supportive Tank and Stella were and I think the little bits we get with them were the best parts. I also am a little disappointed that this book ended similarly to Raven, right when it felt like the story was getting into something exciting. Do graphic novels have cliffhangers? If yes, that’s what this was. I will say, I am extremely excited to read the next installment, Teen Titans: Beast Boy Loves Raven.

Technically The Plain Janes was three graphic novels in one bind up. So, I’m counting this month as four total that I read, hah! Now, I only have 8 unread graphic novels left on my shelf. I’m happy with how many/what I’ve read in terms of graphic novels this year. What graphic novels did you read in 2020?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.