The Girl Who Owned a City by O. T. Nelson and illustrated by Joëlle Jones

13022967125 pages
Published April 1, 2012
Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: A DEADLY VIRUS KILLED EVERY ADULT ON EARTH, LEAVING ONLY US KIDS BEHIND.
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.

Review: Some horrible disease has spread over the United States, only afflicted those over 12 years old. The only survivors are children, obviously. They must become resourceful or starve to death. Lisa and her brother are surviving on their own, but must face gangs that want to steal their food and resources. Lisa bands together with her neighborhood and they create a “city” in an former school.

Apparently this graphic novel is taken from the original book by O.T. Nelson. I’ve never read this book, so I can’t comment on the original. This book was originally published in the 1970s and I thought the illustrations had a retro feel without being dated. It was a nice nod to the original. Lisa is a strong character almost to the point of it being a fault. She creates a city and claims it as her own, to the point where she doesn’t want to admit that others helped her create the city. I felt like this could be a realistic mindset of an eleven year old.

Lisa, and many other of the characters are strong and resourceful and are able to survive despite their being no adults. I did a little research on the original book, and it looks like O.T. Nelson wanted to write a book with children in charge, to show children that they have their own power and agency. I think he accomplished this, because the children are able to survive on their own.

The ending seemed open ended and I don’t know if the original book is like that, but I do want to know if anything else happens to these characters. It does seem to be left open to have a sequel, and I would be interested to know more about the disease (which baffles me that it could only kill adults), what is happening in Chicago (briefly referenced in the book) and whether Lisa’s city is able to survive the onslaught from the other gangs.

Overall, I give this graphic novel 3 stars, I liked it.

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