The Girl Who Owned a City

O T Nelson, Author, Joelle Jones, Illustrator, Dan Jolley, Adapted by
O.T. Nelson, Dan Jolley, and Joëlle Jones. Lerner/Graphic Universe, $9.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-0-7613-4903-7
Reviewed on: 02/13/2012
Release date: 01/01/2012
Paperback - 125 pages - 978-0-7613-5634-9
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In the opening scene of this comics adaptation of the Nelson’s YA novel of the same name, the main character, Lisa Nelson, calls out to the owner of a home she has just broken into. She apologizes for her intrusion as she scours the house for food, but finds nothing there but dust. The opening scene says a lot about this character. All adults have been killed by a plague, leaving children to fend for themselves, but Lisa has not yet given up on basic civilities. This sensibility leads her to unite her neighborhood at a school, which they turn into the titular city. Like the original—first published in 1975—this is a fast-paced story with philosophical underpinnings, moving through time with effective montages of work and children’s drawings as the survivors attempt to create a new society. Jones’s art is colorful, bold, and lively, with sharply drawn characters. While the main conflict wraps up with an unsatisfying resolution, it’s still a powerful commentary on the ways that power breeds jealousy and war. Ages 10–up. (Apr.)