It takes a lot for me to use the words “smart” and “charming” in the same sentence to describe anything. But rarely do I ever read anything that embodies the over used description. The book to do this for me is The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Illustrated by Jim Rugg.

The Plain Janes tells the story of high school student Jane who is forced to move from the happening Metro City to suburbia. At first Jane thinks her life is over but soon finds her tribe in three girls all named Jane. Together the Janes form a secret club called P.L.A.I.N – People Loving Art In Neighborhoods to liven up their town. Some people love their art, but most are frightened, and the police deem P.L.A.I.N’s art attacks as form of terrorism.

In The Plain Janes, Castellucci offers up characters that have their have their own personality, making it easy to care for and identify with these girls. The illustration done by Jim Rugg helps to bring these girls to life and is done in a clean style that is reminiscent of Craig Thompson. One of the things that made me fall in love with The Plain Janes is the importance that it places on art; which in these days of budget cuts causing art programs in schools to disappear is a nice reminder. If you have a sister or a girl in your life I high recommend that you make them read The Plain Janes.