I know I said that my next review would be Shaun Hume’s Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith but when a friend asked me to read and recommend whether or not Friends with Boy’s was suitable for her 10 year old daughter my TBR pile ended up getting a little jumbled. I read this beauty when it first came out in 2012, and I am delighted to say that I think as much of it now as I did just over four years ago.
Title: Friends With Boys
Author: Faith Erin Hicks
Publisher: First Second
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Genre: YA Fiction, Fiction, Comics and Graphic Novels
Themes: Friendship, First Love, Family Dynamics, Divorce
Features: Early drawings and concept sketches
My Rating: 4.5/ 5
After years of homeschooling, Maggie is starting high school. It’s pretty terrifying.
Maggie’s big brothers are there to watch her back, but ever since Mom left it just hasn’t been the same.
Besides her brothers, Maggie’s never had any real friends before. Lucy and Alistair don’t have lots of friends either. But they eat lunch with her at school and bring her along on their small-town adventures.
Missing mothers…distant brothers…high school…new friends… It’s a lot to deal with. But there’s just one more thing.
MAGGIE IS HAUNTED.
As many of you may have guessed by now, my heart belongs to teen graphic novels. I simply can’t resist them. And you want to know the funny part? I never read them as a teen growing up!
Friends with boys had just about everything – beautiful art work, an easy to follow flow, and just enough left up to the imagination in the gutter. And that’s not even mentioning the believable characters, beautiful haunted twist, and the acknowledgement and support of teens individuality and need to express themselves.
The dual plots of Maggie entering high school while dealing with her mom leaving their family, and the ‘Reaper’s’ widow worked really well together and came together in a way that didn’t seem tired and overdone. I think the only thing that I would want more of is a little bit more on what happened to the ghost after all of the action at the museum. But, with that being said the ambiguity works really well because when you’re a teen in high school who’s navigating the post-divorce landscape of a family you have no idea what’s coming down the pipe anyways, and that’s okay.
The exploration of the family dynamics amongst the different sets of siblings is both touching and genuine. As is the honest view of bullying in high school. The acknowledgement that some wounds cut so deep that no amount of apologizing can ever be enough is both painful and poignant. What’s more important though is that there are characters who stand up against such treatment throughout the text and without becoming bullies and tormentors themselves.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! Innocence, romance, independence, emotion, and the supernatural are all entangled in this beautifully sweet coming of age tale. The emotions never feel forced, the actions stay true to the characters, and it is exactly the kind of story I think so many tweens and teens will resonate with.