What would you do if the girl of your dreams knew all your faults and imperfections from the get go? Authors Greg Means and MK Reed team up with illustrator Joe Flood to bring this tale to your laps. The Cute Girl Network is a wonderfully awkward romance about accepting a person for who they are, with all their quirks.
Here’s the official description from First Second:
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.
While this book is clearly aimed at teenaged girls, as a thirty-two year old male I connected strongly to the lead characters and their romance. I expect most comic fanboys would also empathize with the main male character who is a total neurotic, klutzy mess. Awkward in every way, all the relationships I have ever been in have featured me attempting to be a romantic flyboy, but failing horribly. The moment I fell in love with Jack’s character was when he first kissed Jane and ended up getting a bloody nose that gushed all over her. So much of our media shows celebrities putting on false images of what is “cool.” I need stories like The Cute Girl Network to remind me that in reality we are all a bunch of fools. A major message in this book is whether or not we can be total fools and have someone still accept us and love us.
An important theme of the book, that is extremely relevant in today’s comic market, is respecting the diversity of our communities. The lead female character, Jane, is seen as an outsider in a culture that does not market towards her. She teaches an important lesson to readers- “be on dingus patrol”, which means think before you say something stupid.
Readers will identify with receiving unwarranted advice early in a relationship, whether who to date or rules for stupid dating games. I enjoyed reading about the leads learning to get past the games and be real.
I was planning on passing this book on to my 13-year old niece, but after reading it there is no way I am doing that. I know that most music on the radio is worse than the sex in this book and I know I sound like the old lame dude, but I still can’t comfortably give a pre-teen a book discussing “head.”
Considering this book will be competing with less expensive paperbacks, the $17.99 price tag is fairly pricey. I am used to the excessive prices of graphic novels, but depending on how this book is marketed, it may find itself competing with cheaper mediums.
I enjoyed the art and it fit the story well. Many of the splash pages that started each chapter had so much going on in them that I found myself distracted. This was not a negative thing though, as there were many fun details to catch in each background.
Sometimes, the dialogue felt lame, but then I would remember how lame much of my dialogue was from my early relationships. I enjoyed the humor throughout the story, and was laughing in empathy numerous times in each chapter. The story was extremely predictable, but because I connected so much to the lead characters I was excited to see it play out.
Overall, The Cute Girls Network was a very fun read. I flipped page after page in excitement to read the story of what I wanted from a relationship, someone to love my own neurotic, klutzy, awkward behind!