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The Girl Who Owned a City

The Graphic Novel

The Girl Who Owned a City
Joëlle Jones Illustrated by

Lerner Publishing Group

Limited ***

6.0 X 8.5 in
128 pg

JUVENILE FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / General
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Violence
JUVENILE FICTION / Readers / Intermediate


Texas Maverick Graphic Novels Reading List — 2012 — Winner


A deadly virus killed every adult on Earth, leaving only the kids behind. With her parents gone, Lisa is responsible for her little brother, Todd. She has to make sure they 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 on Grand Avenue, some kids are surviving. Because of Lisa.

Lisa 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 that away and rule the streets themselves. How long can Lisa's group keep fighting them off? They need to find a place to live safely. A strong place. A secret place.

In a world like this, someone has to take charge. But does Lisa have the strength to take charge of a whole city?


"The strong-willed, resourceful main character sets an excellent example for girls of all ages and the ingenuity of the children shows the virtues of perseverance and resiliency in the face of disaster. Overall, this is an entertaining read with great artwork that is sure to attract fans of graphic novels." —Library Media Connection

"This graphic novel adaptation of Nelson’s 1975 story maintains the original tension and finds room for political discourse." --The Horn Book Guide

"This is a graphic-format retelling of Nelson's 1975 novel, but it feels like a contemporary offering from the camp of postapocalyptic adventure... Jones's gorgeous illustrations will suck readers in. It is an overall engaging story that could spark some lively debate over the true meaning of sharing and leadership." --VOYA

"The questions of leadership and might over right will resonate with contemporary teen readers as strongly as they did in the original 1975 novel." --Booklist

"Jones's illustrations are shaded in brown and green earth tones and are filled with movement and life. The faces of the children are angular and interesting, looking realistically like kids who have been struggling to survive. This will be an ideal recommendation for readers looking for a dystopian story in which young people need to step up and be their own heroes." --School Library Journal

"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." --Publishers Weekly

Author Bio

O. T. Nelson has said that he wrote The Girl Who Owned a City because he wanted "children to realize that they are important and that they have the ability to think and make a difference." Mr. Nelson is an artist and writer who lives in Minnesota with his wife. He has two adult children.
Joëlle Jones launched her artistic career in 2006. Among her varied projects are the illustrations for three titles by Jamie S. Rich—12 Reasons Why I Love Her, You Have Killed Me, and Spell Checkers; the comic-book spinoff of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog; the Iron Man story in Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man #150 by Brian Michael Bendis; and Janet Evanovich's bestselling graphic novel Troublemaker. She lives in Oregon.