The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson

Standalone. Graphic Universe (April 2012) Library
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. 

The Girl Who Owned a City is set in a future where all kids aged twelve and under are the only ones immune to a disease that wiped out the adult population. It mirrors other post-apocalyptic books in that it shows how people will do anything to survive by either doing it the right way - creating a stable society that helps each other out - or the wrong way - creating factions of gangs and thugs that steal from the weak. In this instance, the only survivors are kids. They must find a way to coexist and survive or they'll end up wiping each other out.

I needed some edge to my recent graphic novel (GN) reads. Recently I read a GN book geared towards a younger audience which fell flat. I needed something exciting and a story that I knew I would enjoy right away. I love post-apocalyptic/dystopian reads so I was hooked before I even flipped a page. 

Lisa is just trying to get by with her younger brother Todd. Food is scarce but she's been smart by finding food in all the right places. She soon finds that with her strategy and the knowledge that the other kids have in her block they can all survive against the gangs stealing their resources. It turns into an all out battle against the opposing gangs once Lisa figures out a way to maintain a successful society in her community. I love that it's Lisa's ability to strategize and think of solutions that makes her a great leader. In the back flap of the book it says why O.T. Nelson wanted to write the book: because he wanted kids "to realize that they are important and that they have the ability to think and make a difference." I thought that idea came across clearly throughout this book. Although this is a gruesome setting to be in I can see the theme portrayed in the book being welcomed by readers for generations.

The artwork in this book was amazingly well done. It's what made me want to pick up this book in the first place. That cover screams bad ass protagonist which is a type of character I will always want to read about. The Girl Who Owned a City's message was told really nicely in such a short amount of time. Add that with the awesome illustrations and this was a great graphic novel read.


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