friends with boys

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Released February 28, 2012.

Maggie McKay has been homeschooled her entire life by her mother, who has left the family.  Now she has to start regular high school, just like her three older brothers have.  Maggie has never had any friends who were girls, happily being friends with just her brothers.  As Maggie starts high school, she discovers the boredom, the cliques, and the first tentative steps at real friendship, even one with a girl!  Add into the mix a tragic ghostly mystery complete with a female ghost who follows Maggie around, and you have an interesting mix of graphic novel, paranormal, and high school reality.

Hicks has created a very engaging graphic novel here with her mix of genres.  Her characters are fully-formed, with all of the major characters displaying real depth.  The relationships between siblings is a large part of the storylines in the novel.   I also appreciated a story about a homeschooled teen who may be hesitant to enter high school but is not specifically troubled by her previous schooling.

The graphic format is well-used here.  The images are regularly used to tell more of the story than the characters’ speech bubbles do.   Done in black and white, the use of shadow and light is very effective.  The story takes several surprising twists, which makes it all the more readable.

A graphic novel about a girl who is not particularly girly is just the right book to have in library collections.   Appropriate for ages 13-15.

Reviewed from copy received from First Second.