Special review from Terry Blas
Title: The Girl Who Owned a City
Author: T.O. Nelson, Dan Jolley
Artist: Joelle Jones
Pages: 128 pages
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Published: April 2012
Where I got the book: eARC
From the back cover:
A deadly virus killed every adult on Earth, leaving only us kids behind. My parents are gone, so I’m responsible for my little brother, Todd. I have to make sure we stay alive. Many kids are sick or starving, and fierce gangs are stealing and destroying everything they find. Lots of people have given up, but here on Grand Avenue, some of us are surviving. Because of me.
I figured out how to give the kids on Grand Avenue food, homes, and protection against the gangs. But Tom Logan and his army are determined to take away what we’ve built and rule the streets themselves. How long can we keep fighting them off? We need to find another place for us to live safely. A strong place. A secret place.
In a world like this, someone has to take charge. But do I have the strength to take charge of a whole city?
The Girl Who Owned a City was one of my favorite books as a child.
I loved the idea that this was a world full of kids, all trying to survive after a virus wiped out everyone over the age of twelve. What was different about this book, and what set it apart from other stories like Lord of the Flies was that, as the title suggest, the main character is a girl.
O.T. Nelson spoke about how he wanted to write a book to show kids that they were more than what people had told them they were. He wanted to inspire them to use their brains, to think about how to do things, and not to rely so much on others. This is very apparent in the book as Lisa, struggles to help her little brother survive. She’s not struggling as much as the other kids though. She’s being smart about it, and using her head.
I won’t get too much into the plot of the book. If you want that, you can read the review I wrote here, but the purpose of this review is to talk a bit about the new graphic novel adaptation by Dan Jolley and Joelle Jones.
From what I remember, this adaptation follows the book extremely well. There’s one, maybe two things I can think of that might be different, and I say might because if they are, it didn’t take anything away from the story. Some things are inherently more novelistic and some things work better in a comic, and this is evident by certain things that were cut out, or shortened by the nature of a comic. The written adaptation is done extremely well.
The art is incredible. I’ve got every single one of Joelle Jones’s books and it’s my personal opinion that this is some of her best work. Every panel forces your attention and demands you be pulled into the story. I’d be hard pressed to find a single favorite page because the whole book is a masterpiece.
But it’s not just drawn well, the characters seem real, their acting and poses are natural and make you forget you’re reading anything at all. It’s definitely an experience and one you will be sorry you missed if you don’t check out the book.
I realize my opinion regarding the art may be biased, but it’s also right. The Girl Who Owned a City was one of my favorite books as a child and it’s one of my favorite graphic novels as a grown up.
Terry Blas is a Portland, Ore. based illustrator. His web comic, Briar Hollow, and artwork can be found at terryblas.com.