I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I have to say it’s nice to read a good graphic novel that isn’t too heavy. I’m admittedly not that well versed in graphic novels. What I’ve noticed from mere observation is that the market seems to be geared more towards boys than girls. Whenever I come across graphic novels that have great appeal for girls, I get kind of excited. I’m not really sure when the push started, but I think graphic novels are becoming more and more popular. That’s an exciting prospect; I’m very visual, so I love them.
The Cute Girl Network is out for blood this time! When some acquaintances find out Jane is thinking of dating Jack, they schedule her to meet with all his ex-girlfriends to persuade her not to date him.
There were immediately things I loved about The Cute Girl Network. Jane doesn’t fit into the stereotypical idea of a girl or woman. She works in a skate shop, she’s a great skateboarder, and she’s pretty laid back. Her rapport with the guys that work in the skate shop served as an exploration of sexism. The guys understood almost nothing about girls except what they had learned from the societal norms (girls like sparkly stuff, right?). Jane is a perfect example of an every day woman who isn’t always worried about how she looks. I could relate to that. When I’m not at work or at some particular social function, I’m regularly in jeans and t-shirts with no makeup on. It’s rare to see or read about that in any kind of media, though. It’s definitely not something you find encouraged. I appreciated that in this graphic novel.
The main plot point was really about a group of women trying to convince Jane that Jack will be an awful boyfriend. The network has good intentions, but the woman who sets up Jane’s meetings with the exes is a little too adamant about which choice is the right choice. It becomes a story about pressure and perspective. Jack’s previous girlfriends all have pretty legitimate reasons to dislike him, but they’re also not Jane. Their perspectives on Jack’s behavior vary from Jane’s because their expectations and interests are different. Jane and Jack share a lot of interests that simply put them on the same level. Still, Jane gets a lot of pressure from the girls in the network.
As far as the nuts and bolts of this graphic novel go, I give it two thumbs up. Both Jane and Jack were developed well. The supporting characters were more than surface characters. I enjoyed the art, and it really fit the story; good job to Joe Flood on that point. Let me address the audience a little, though. We have this weird tendency to place books into age genres based on the age of the characters. The characters in this book are out of high school and working, but I think this has major appeal to a young adult audience. I was actually under the assumption that it was being marketed to young adults, but now I’m not so sure. I will say that I think it’s best for older teens since there are clear references to sex.
This one comes highly recommended from me. Anyone else read this and love it?