New review: Janes In Love

// 7 September 2008

Janes In Love is an oddly bloodless story of friendship, boys and ‘art attacks’, says Sarah C L

Cover of Janes In LoveJane Beckles lives in a fictional small town in the US called Kent Waters, as told in Janes in Love, a graphic novel written by Cecil Castellucci and drawn by Jim Rugg. She attends Buzz Aldrin High, and collects together a group of friends calling themselves The P.L.A.I.N Janes – standing for People Loving Art in Neighbourhoods – and the Janes use public space to create artworks with the aim of improving the world by making it beautiful.

As Jane Beckles (or ‘Main Jane’) puts it: “Making art is my love letter to the world.” These art works have been labelled vandalism by the local authorities, but the Janes themselves call them ‘art attacks’.

The P.L.A.I.N. Janes are a ‘misfit’ gang of four girls (and one gay male), and, like the Spice Girls, the readers will be able to choose which Jane they identify with most. As well as Main Jane, there is the scientific Jayne, with two dads and a crush on a fellow science-geek who she isn’t brave enough to even talk to. The sporty Polly Jane isn’t intimidated by anything, especially not boys, and ‘Theatre Jane’ pines ‘romantically’ after professional actor Rhys (if I was being uncharitable I could call it stalking). James has no identity beyond token gay male, and no love interests either – he even says the line: “Oh for one cute gay boy here at Buzz Aldrin!”

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