Saturday, December 29, 2018

Graphic Novel Review: The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson & Dan Jolley

Title: The Girl Who Owned a City 
Authors: O.T. Nelson & Dan Jolley 
Illustrator: JoĆ«lle Jones
Publication Date: April 1, 2012
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Pages: 125
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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.

I found The Girl Who Owned a City while searching for one more book to complete this year's graphic novel challenge. I was looking for a dystopian story and this one grabbed my attention with its amazing cover! Unfortunately, what was inside wasn't as good as I'd hoped.

The Girl Who Owned a City takes place in a world that has recently lost all of its adults. The children are left behind to fend for themselves and Lisa is no different. She and her brothers are fighting to defend their home and supplies, but gangs are popping up all over and Lisa knows she has to do something to keep them safe.

Characters are really the most important part of a book for me. Although I like my books to be plot driven, the characters have to be sympathetic and relatable. Lisa is neither of those. For whatever reason she decides to take the formation of "her" city into her own hands, failing to accept input from her friends and ignoring them when they voice valid concerns. Even once she takes control of "her" city and proclaims its citizens are her responsibility, she continually throws herself into harm's way at the expense of her people. The villain of the story is also ridiculously simplistic and wishy washy.

This book is kind of a mess. I guess it's based on a 1975 young adult novel and maybe that's better, but I just could not get into the story. It's choppy and quick and nothing is explained. Lisa goes from trying to defend a street to running a city/fortress inside of a school. Things happen too quickly, which I guess may be due to the graphic novel format. Then again, I've read many graphic novels that were much better written than this.

I also hated that the epidemic itself, the one that wiped out everyone over a certain age (12, I think?) is never delved into. Why did the adults die? How did they die? Is this a worldwide epidemic or is it confined to Lisa's town/state/coast? What is even going on in this world?? As a lover of dystopian fiction, my favorite books are always the ones who build complex worlds that are at least somewhat believable as a potential future.

I didn't go into The Girl Who Owned a City with any expectations, but of course I did hope to enjoy it. Sadly, it was too rushed with characters and a world that were very much lacking in development. The art was pretty for sure, but that may be the only thing I liked about it.