Friends with Boys

Friends with Boys

by Faith Erin Hicks

Paperback

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Overview

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.

This title has Common Core connections.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

After being homeschooled her whole life, Maggie is starting high school at a public school and she’s understandably terrified. Anxiously she goes to school and eventually makes a few friends that others might consider weird because of how they look, but they turn out to be good comrades. In the midst of this easy-to-read slice-of-life action, Maggie is also being haunted by a female ghost who died about 200 years ago. Despite the addition of the ghost to the story, the graphic novel continues in realism mode, instead of shifting to a horror tale. And while the book starts out strongly, it leaves many things unanswered, like why Maggie’s mother left or what the ghost wants, leading to a somewhat abrupt ending. Maggie is a likable main character, however, and her anxiety about school is well portrayed, while Hicks’s black and white art is sharp and comically expressive. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)

School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up—Maggie's secure homeschooled life with three older brothers, Daniel, Lloyd, and Zander, is ruptured when she must negotiate the rough waters of public school and a new family dynamic. She also happens to be haunted by a ghost, the widow of a sea captain, who is less terrifying to Maggie than the prospect of high school. She eventually becomes friends with siblings Alistair and Lucy. This friendship is complicated by Alistair's uneasy relationship with Daniel. The threesome visits the local museum and locates the sea captain's prosthetic hand. Maggie determines that returning it to his widow's ghost will put the apparition to rest. When her theft is discovered, Maggie's brothers come to her rescue, returning the missing artifact and exonerating the trio. 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. Note Lucy's face during the horror movie and the faces of the siblings when confronted by their father. 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.—Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

Kirkus Reviews

Nervous, homeschooled by her absent and much-missed mom and saddled with three adored older brothers--and a ghost--Maggie starts high school. Largely but not entirely left by her doting upper-grade sibs (who had "first days" of their own) to sink or swim, Maggie starts off in lonely isolation but quickly finds two great friends in Mohawk-wearing, multi-pierced, exuberantly logorrheic classmate Lucy and her quieter (but also Mohawk-topped) brother Alistair. Simmering complications soon reach a boil as Maggie discovers that Alistair and her own oldest brother Daniel have some sort of bad history and, on a more eldritch note, a woman's ghost that Maggie had always been able to see occasionally in the nearby graveyard takes to floating into her house and right up to her face. 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. (Graphic fantasy. 11-13)

From the Publisher

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781596435568
Publisher: First Second
Publication date: 02/28/2012
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.54(h) x 0.66(d)
Lexile: GN390L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 16 Years

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