"So real I wanted to jump into the book myself."

Summary:

Maggie has been homeschooled by her mother for most of her life. Now that it's time for her to start high school, she’s terrified. When Maggie looks to her older brothers and father for moral support, she finds that they are dealing with their own problems. Her father is being promoted to town’s new police chief and her brothers are in a bit of a feud with each other.

Even with her rough start, Maggie manages to make her first few real friends, Lucy and Alistair, both of whom are a bit of an outcast at school. Together they form a relationship that makes Maggie feel more welcome in her scary freshman year, eating lunch together and hanging out. Maggie goes about her school days with her new friends and finding a few enemies along the way. Her brothers do try to look out for her, but she continues to struggle with the departure of her mother and the strange ghostly lady that haunts her everywhere she goes.


BTSYA / Teen Reader (17):
I wasn’t expecting Friends with Boys to take me by storm. I went in thinking it would be a typical coming-of-age novel, but that isn’t all of what happened. Thank goodness for that. This well written and illustrated graphic novel is an absolutely relatable, riveting read! It is heartwarming to see Maggie learn to let go of the past and grow to accept her family and friends as they are. I also really enjoyed the subplot with the ghost as it definitely gave the novel a sweet supernatural twist. 

The author's artwork conveys emotions on every page. The characters are unique and beaming with personality, so much so that I could believe they were real. I liked the characters to the point I literally wanted to jump into this book myself to interact with them! I guess that really goes to show the power Faith Erin Hicks has with realistic writing. The whole family dynamic is also quite something. It is well-developed and gets you in your feels.

As for criticism, I feel that a few questions went unanswered, particularly the situation with Maggie’s mother and the ghost. The title is also a bit misleading, but that’s something I didn’t mind too much.

Friends with Boys would make a great gift for fans of high school stories and teenage readers. It is suitable for readers 11 and older.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Readers who love realistic characters and storylines - not to mention ghosts! - will have all their favorite things in Friends with Boy.

Content Awareness Factors:

The plot contains mild profanity and alcohol use. Our teen reviewer notes that some of the older characters swear and use bad language, but that it is "thankfully not a pervasive element of the story." A fistfight is the only violent encounter in the book.

Do not use the reading level as a guide for a suitable audience. This is not for elementary-aged readers.


Type of Book:
This is a young adult graphic novel about a girl starting high school.
Educational Themes:

Maggie's story creates opportunities to talk about change, dealing with stress, making friends, and healthy ways to seek help from others. The family dynamics are realistic and can also generate discussion about communication, supporting one another, et al.

Reading Level:
2.7
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
11 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
12 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 17
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. The story is so realistic and the artwork so amazing you'll come back to it multiple times.

Title Friends with Boys
Author Faith Erin Hicks
Publisher Square Fish Books, Imprint Macmillan Children's Publishing Group © 2015
Illustrators Faith Erin Hicks
ISBN 9781250068163
Material Paperback
Cost $10.99
Genres Family, Friendship, School, Coming Of Age, Comics | Graphic Novels, Growing Up, Ghost Story
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