Thursday, March 1, 2012

Graphic Novel Review: Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Title: Friends with Boys
Author: Faith Erin Hicks
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: February 28, 2012

Pages: 224
Reading Group: Young Adult
Buy the Book: Amazon
Source: NetGalley


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.


You may think it's weird, but I find it more difficult writing reviews for books I like. It's hard to point out the stuff you love in the book without gushing. It often comes out really messy and disjonted. Let's see how that goes. On with the review.

If want me to describe this book in one word, it's "Adorable."

Friends with Boys is a book that's charming, funny and tender all at the same time. I was enchanted from the very first pages.  

I always thought that sibling relationships are not portrayed enough in fiction. When I came across this book, I was pleasantly surprised that it were the main focus. This is a story about how life can make your relationships stronger or break them apart. Sometimes you'd like your life to stay the way that it is at the moment, but you can't help the fact that things will change. Sometimes these changes will prevent you from spending time with the people you love. That's what the main character is going through.

Maggie is a very easy character to love because you can't help but feel for her. She is facing a big change in her life.  After being home-schooled her whole life, she is going to high school, meeting new faces and facing new challenges. It's easy to empathize with her because when you live a life that you pretty much happy with, and there's a possibility of losing that, you feel scared and alone. I like how the illustrations added to that feeling of isolation. Maggie feels isolated even though she's in a place that's full of people. 

I may be making the story to be a bit dark, but really it's not. It's about teens and their challenges in high school. This book is kinda influenced by Japanese manga and you can tell if you've read manga before. It's not a bad thing, in fact, that's what made the story so charming. There is a sense of innocence in it that you feel when you read Japanese manga. What I mean is that these characters are not exactly realistic, and that's okay because they are so charming that you wish you were friends with them.

This is a really funny book. I found myself laughing several times. The dialogue in this book is great. The side characters are all incredible and they provide a huge chunk of the entertainment aspect of the book. They also each have their own unique personalities. There is the boy who love theater, the twin who tries to break apart from his brother, the friend with the wierd interests... I loved all of them. My personal favorite is Maggie's big brother. All the big brother figures are amazing. I wish I had big brothers like that.

When it comes to the art, I love it. The factual expressions are great and so is the character designs. I like how the transitions between the shoots flaw with the story. I wish I could dig deeper into the artistic aspect, but unfortunately I'm not an artist. I loved the writing.

If you can't tell by now, I loved this book. After I finished the last page, I was a little sad bacause I wanted more of these characters. I'd love it if Hicks considered writing a sequel.

I didn't feel the need to cover the paranormal aspect of the story because I fear that I may spoil things for you if I went into detail about it. You have to read the book to find out how it adds to the story.

All in all, Friends with Boys is a wonderful graphic novel. It had me laughing and "aww"-ing the whole way through. If you love coming-of-age stories or stories about sibling relationship in general, this book is for you.

You can read Friends with Boys here in the author's website till March 6. Don't miss the chance.

Final Grade:

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