Published by First Second on November 12th, 2013
Genres: contemporary, graphic novel, young adult
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Jane's new in town. When she wipes out on her skateboard right in front of Jack's food cart, she finds herself agreeing to go on a date with him. Jane's psyched that her love life is taking a turn for the friskier, but it turns out that Jack has a spotty romantic history, to put it mildly. Cue the Cute Girl Network — a phone tree information-pooling group of local single women. Poor Jane is about to learn every detail of Jack's past misadventures… whether she wants to or not. Will love prevail? In this graphic novel from Greg Means, Americus author MK Reed, and Joe Flood, the illustrator of Orcs, comes a fast, witty, and sweet romantic comedy that is actually funny, and actually romantic.
I just finished The Cute Girl Network last night, and this was one of the cutest, fluffiest graphic novels I have ever read. If you are looking for something dark, look elsewhere, though the cover should pretty much tell you that anyway. But that doesn’t mean that this isn’t compelling and enjoyable, cuz it is.
It’s about a girl who lives in New York City; she’s a skater, and one day she skateboards past a soup cart and meets Jack, who is running it. They begin a fledgling relationship until Jane’s friends get involved, telling her about something called the network, and offering to take her to meet a bunch of Jake’s exes to prove he’s a loser and that Jane should not be dating him. The story goes on from there, and I have to stop here before I spoil anything.
The writing is good, the dialogue is realistic, and I really loved the illustrations and characterizations best. I thought Jake and Jane were super adorable and likable. There were other characters that I basically wanted to murder, but that is to be expected, I suppose. The only issue I really had was that I found a couple of the panels hard to follow. This could be because I am still sort of a newbie as far as reading graphic noels goes, but there were a couple of places where I was not sure what line of dialogue I was supposed to read first. This, of course, interrupts flow, but it was hardly an issue.
But my FAVORITE thing about The Cute Girl Network was how pro-female it was. Jane was a kickass character because she was a girl in a man’s world, she was a feminist, AND it was seen as a good thing. She was the only female skater at her work (a skate shop), she was constantly having to fight off sexism at the skate park, and try to make her bosses/co-workers understand why she didn’t need a man to support her. I LOVED IT. Jack respected her for it, and their relationship was just adorbs. Seriously. I was blown away by the things I was reading in this graphic novel because it is just so rare to see that!
And with that, I definitely think you should read it. It’s short, it’s fun, and I KNOWWWW women would love it. Not that men wouldn’t, but it’s definitely going to be a book that the ladies enjoy more.