Monday, April 29, 2024

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with a review of Plain Jane and the Mermaid by Vera Brosgol (Graphic Novel)

Plain Jane and the Mermaid by Vera Brosgol
Publisher:  First Second Books
Format:  Paperback ARC
Number of pages:   368 pages
Publishing:   May 7th, 2024
Source:  Banholzer PR

After the sudden death of Jane's parents in a fish cart accident, her cousin Colin becomes the heir to the family estate. As Colin focuses on redecorating and selecting his new bedroom, he gives Jane a week to vacate before he forces her out on the streets.  Jane's only ray of hope lies in marriage, which promises a substantial dowry.  So, Jane intends to propose to her crush, Peter, in hopes that he'll see this arrangement as being mutually beneficial.  She'll secure her dowry and he will be free from his domineering father.  However, their plan goes awry when Peter is kidnapped by a mermaid.  Undeterred, Jane ventures into the underwater realm of the mermaids to rescue Peter.

I really enjoyed Vera Brosgol's graphic style, her illustrations give you the feel of looking at an animated movie.  The colors are dark and dreary in the right places then contrast well with the blue and teal colors under water.  How she portrays Jane's home as desolate, empty of any warmth.  Contrasted with her adventures underwater where Jane crosses paths with a water demon, and well those pesky mermaids.  I also really enjoyed the panels where Jane is rescuing a seal.  At times you really want to give Jane a great big hug.  Throughout her life, Jane has heard that she's plain, she wears black baggy dresses, her hair is disheveled, and her clothes are ripping at the seams.  She hoped that marrying Peter would give her an autonomy over her life.  There are strong messages conveyed about the importance of inner beauty and that we shouldn't be judged solely by our outward appearance.  I really enjoyed everything about this beautiful graphic novel, the artwork, the underwater setting and especially Jane who learns that beauty is not how we should value our worth.  Lovely authors note at the very end.  

**A huge thank you to Banholzer PR and the publisher for the paperback ARC**    

I hope you'll check out all the other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge's blog HERE       


  1. I had not heard of this one so thanks for the recommend. A unique storyline and the graphic format should appeal to young readers. I hope you are having a Happy MMGM!

  2. This sounds pretty unique. It might be more YA than MG with that story line. Thanks for telling me about it.

  3. I just read this one recently, too, and I agree so much with what you've said about the book. I am trying really hard not to buy more graphic novels right now (my shelf is full) but I'm pretty sure I'll end up purchasing a hard copy of this one. I can't resist. :)

  4. This sounds like a fun take on The Little Mermaid, and I love the theme of not judging by appearances (especially in today's culture!). Thanks for the recommendation!

  5. It sounds like a good story. It's interesting how the illustrations are so different in Jane's real world vs. the mermaid one she goes to. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  6. I love this sound of this one! I don't usually pick up graphic novels, but the premise of this one is so unique.