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A coming-of-age tale with a spooky twist!
Maggie McKay hardly knows what to do with herself. After an idyllic childhood of homeschooling with her mother and rough-housing with her older brothers, it’s time for Maggie to face the outside world, all on her own. But that means facing high school first. And it also means solving the mystery of the melancholy ghost who has silently followed Maggie throughout her entire life. Maybe it even means ...
A coming-of-age tale with a spooky twist!
Maggie McKay hardly knows what to do with herself. After an idyllic childhood of homeschooling with her mother and rough-housing with her older brothers, it’s time for Maggie to face the outside world, all on her own. But that means facing high school first. And it also means solving the mystery of the melancholy ghost who has silently followed Maggie throughout her entire life. Maybe it even means making a new friend—one who isn’t one of her brothers.
Funny, surprising, and tender, Friends with Boys is a pitch perfect YA graphic novel full of spooky supernatural fun.
“ Easy-to-read slice-of-life action . . . . Maggie is a likable main character . . . and her anxiety about school is well portrayed, while Hicks’s black and white art is sharp and comically expressive.” —Publishers Weekly
“Friends With Boys started as a daily web comic, still available online, but was designed to work as a book and is a pleasurable read in both formats. The art is easy to follow, lively, and engaging, with plenty of effective silent moments. For all the expected family and high school angst, the book is rife with humor. Maggie is a sympathetic and likeable character and carries the story capably . . . . Hicks handles it all with warmth and aplomb.” —VOYA
“Fun for kids who can appreciate stories about teen angst that do not wallow in depression or self-loathing.” —Children's Literature
“The black-and-white coloring adds a nice somber tone to resonate emotional power, capturing a textual tone that moves from comedic to serious.” —ALAN Review
“Various panel sizes are used to full advantage, creating a cinematic effect that moves from long shots to tight close-ups. Night scenes provide good contrast and heighten the dramatic tension. Excellent pacing gives pause for reflective moments and sets up the action scenes. Hicks is a master of wordless panels, using facial expressions, gestures, and character placement to effectively convey emotions that transcend words. Her artistic brilliance is especially evidenced in the character's expressive faces, particularly the eyes. . . . Originally published as a web comic, this excellent high school drama has already developed an online following. Friends with Boys will win new fans for this talented cartoonist.” —School Library Journal
“Filling monochrome ink-and-wash panels with wonderfully mobile faces, expressively posed bodies, wordless conversations in meaningful glances, funny banter and easy-to-read visual sequences ranging from hilarious to violent, Hicks crafts an upbeat, uncommonly engaging tale rich in humor, suspense and smart, complex characters. Readers will definitely want to have, know or be Maggie's brothers--but she herself proves to be no slouch when it comes to coping with change and taking on challenges.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Hicks excels at depicting adolescent emotion and the way feelings ricochet off the actions and reactions of others, each teenager suffering a constant and confusing onslaught of hurt and acceptance, infatuation and rejection, loneliness and relief…She also shows flashes of clever humor…But what mostly emerges is a fundamentally sweet and sensitive story, one with a rare, genuine-feeling portrait of loving sibling relations.” —The New York Times
Friends With Boys is a graphic novel, a story told in words and pictures. How do you
think this story would be told differently if it was a novel, with only words? How
would it be different if it was a movie, with just pictures?
Maggie goes to public school for the first time at the beginning of the book. What do
you think it would be like to go from homeschooling to public school?
Has a prosthetic hand ever solved anyone's problems? Why or why not?
How do you think your family dynamics would be different if you acquired four older
Why do you think the ghost follows Maggie around all the time?
What did you think about Lucy and Alistair the first time you saw them? Did your
first impression change after Maggie got to know them better?
Maggie's mom leaves before the book starts. Do you think Maggie's behavior
changed after her mom left? How might she act differently if her mom was around?
Maggie's twin older brothers have problems because people expect them to be the
same. Do you know any twins? List three ways they're similar and three ways
Friends With Boys is a black and white book. How would it be different if it was told
Posted April 30, 2014
Where has this book been all my life?! Another win for GR and its suggestions! So, you have Maggie whose starting high school, has 3 brothers and a cop for a dad. Oh and she’s seeing ghosts, well a lady ghost. Not long till she makes friends with siblings Alistair and his awesome Mohawk and adorable Lucy. Can I just say I freaking adore those two. I freaking fell in love with this book. Its art style, the main characters, the awesome sibling love, just aww! Can I just say I freaking adore Alistair and Lucy. I couldn’t help but smile while reading this, especially I can somewhat relate to Maggie. I mean who wasn’t when they had to start high school? Anyway, this was a nice surprise. The art reminded me of Scott Pilgrim. Is it weird that I don’t know who Patti Smith is? Yeah I bet Lucy would find that weird. Lloyd, Zanders and Daniel are adorable and love their big brother relationship with Maggie. So sweet! And yeah shout out to Alien! That zombie play sounds fun by the way. It’s like this book was made for me. Which I noticed I don’t say often about books. Some but not a lot. Now I want to see what other works the author has done. And it seems there’s some questions, not a lot but some, that need answered. I want to say what but that would go to spoiler territory and we can’t have that. Tempting but no. So I’d say give this a read and you’ll get an idea on what I mean. Also, why haven’t you read this? No, really, this is a fun graphic novel. And Alistair is my new favorite book crush. Come on, dude rocks the Mohawk and you know it. I’m hoping there will be a sequel. There just has to be after an ending like that, how can there not be? Pretty please? I would love to read about these characters again. Nice break from all the characters with that are unlikable, all about the angst, drama this and drama that and the sibling hate. Thank you for that change of pace.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 27, 2012
I loved the book because of its wit and humor. It has drama and yet it still seems realistic. The only problem is that the ghost is never really explained, but that's life, isn't it? No bad guy to come out of the shadows and explain his brilliant plot...
Definitely read it! I engulfed this book in one sitting, but when you read it, don't rush. Instead, let Hicks' literary and artistic skills seep into your mind and lift your spirits. No pun intended.
Posted February 28, 2012
Book Review by Chris for Book Sake
The artist, who also happens to be the writer, has a very charming style. Her characters have expressive faces and all look unique. It is really easy to fall in love with Maggie right away.
The story has a bunch of fun moments. Maggie, the main character, getting accustomed to high school is just plain fun and creative. The problem I had was that it just seems like a collection of events that don’t really build on each or lead up to a conclusion.
In a way it reminded me of a Wes Anderson movie (Royal Tenenbaums, Life Aquatic). A group of semi-dysfunctional people who have lives that aren’t perfect and they don’t really get a happy ending. In a way though, you realize that this was the happiest ending they could hope for. I guess you could call that a more realistic ending, real life doesn’t have a swelling orchestra as the hero defeats the villain.
That being said, the ending did feel rather abrupt. Also the pitch of the story is ‘A coming-of-age tale with a spooky twist!’. The ghost element seems rather unneeded. At the end it isn’t explained. If anything, it tags on another element to the ghost story to make it more confusing.
Book Rating: 4/5
Book Review by Jessica for Book Sake
I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book as much as Chris did, so before I read it I asked him if I should read it as well. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with graphic novels as I’m in it more for the story and often times I find graphic novels to be lacking in that department. This is a big exception to that thought. I freaking loved Friends with Boys.
While I agree with Chris that this story didn’t need the paranormal aspect to make the story, it didn’t detract from how much I liked the book. The ghost portion isn’t a huge part, but it’s touched on a few times throughout the story, so it’s not like it’s mentioned once and then never thought of again. However there is really no reason for it to be in the story and it would have stood up well without it.
What I did love about Friends with Boys was the fact that it had character development and a storyline that advanced forward smoothly. The main character Maggie is realistic and I felt for her being the new kid out of her element. Her family is entertaining and awesome even with their problems. The artwork was not only appropriate for the story, but was done very well and helped to show the storyline instead of hindering it. I was able to follow along with each frame – the artwork helping to lead my eye to the next frame easily. I finished this book in one sitting…instead of sleeping…and I love my sleep. This is definitely a graphic novel I’d recommend to those that have never read graphic novels and those that are avid readers.
Book Rating: 5/5