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Friends with Boys Paperback – February 28, 2012
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“ 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
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Top Customer Reviews
The artwork reminded me of a classic comic style, but updated and with manga/anime influences, and the black/white/greyscale rendering actually contributed to some of the story's bleaker themes. Each of the characters were drawn with great expression of emotion and the wise arrangement of the panels made them easy to follow, plus it was well-written and well-edited.
But as much as I wanted to love this graphic novel, at times I found the main story muddied--it came across as a disjointed telling of too many stories in too short a space--and resulted in some of the themes/characters not being too deeply explored.
Basically, Maggie's was a coming of age story which explored themes like adjusting to new situations, socializing, and self-acceptance. On top of that, she had to deal with a number of inner demons--mainly surrounding the estrangement of her mother--which shadowed her literal haunting. However, the literal haunting seemed more like a contrivance to facilitate the story's climax than an integral part of the story.
Even with that quibble, I did find the book entertaining. Maggie's story was engrossing and, as a character, she was skillfully crafted. It's unfortunate that I can't say the same of all the remaining characters (at least, not consistently), many of which lacked dimension--again, probably stemming from the trying-to-cram-too-much-in problem I mentioned earlier.Read more ›
If I ignore these nagging questions, it's a great vignette of Maggie's life starting at a public high school after being homeschooled for the first part of her life. The artwork is great and I loved the detail on every page. I just wish there was more to it. I don't expect all questions to be answered in a story (they rarely are in real life, especially in high school) but I felt that these were neglected gaps in the story rather than questions that are left up to the reader to answer.
Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
While Image is my favorite major publisher of monthly comic titles, First Second is my favorite publisher with a small output of high quality graphic novels, using the term in a very limited sense to refer to comic books that are complete, unified novels either issued at a single point with no previous monthly issues OR trade collections of monthly issues clearly designed to be complete, sustained narrative stories with thematic coherence (such as Watchmen and Daytripper). Friends with Boys is another excellent First Second graphic novel aimed at YA, and though I certainly recommend this title for a YA audience, I suggest that it will be best appreciated by an adult reader who is willing to read this fast-paced tale very slowly in order to take in fully its visual and thematic subtleties.
The story opens as Maggie is about to start ninth grade, her first year of high school. And since she has been homeschooled by her mother, she has never been to a public school and is very nervous the morning of her first day. Her father is a good-natured, long-haired police officer, and Maggie seems close to both him and her three older brothers, all of whom were also homeschooled before starting in public school in the ninth grade. Maggie has two other problems in addition to her stress over starting high school — her mother has left the family after finishing her homeschooling duties for four children, and Maggie blames herself for being too much of a tomboy and never wanting to spend as much time with her mother as she wanted to spend with her father and brothers. Maggie's second problem is that she is haunted by a ghost.Read more ›
But this is just the beginning of strange changes and coincidences in Maggie’s life. When she starts school she befriends punk-pixie Lucy, and her mohawked brother Alistair – both of whom seem to still be reeling from some unspoken event that happened not so long ago.
And then there’s the fact that Maggie’s ghost is back – a spirit from the churchyard has upped the ante and started following Maggie home, but to what purpose?
‘Friends with Boys’ is a graphic novel by Faith Erin Hicks.
I heard about this graphic novel through the Centre for Youth Literature, it came as recommended reading from Jordi for those who are just starting their love-affair with graphic novels. And I've got to say, as someone who has long loved young adult literature; this particular graphic novel makes for superb reading. It’s got a little bit of everything – from coming-of-age to school bullying, a little haunting and family saga.
When we meet them, Maggie’s family have settled into a new routine without their mother, who up and left the family a few months ago. We get the impression, from the family’s new (if, slightly chaotic) routine and the awkwardness that ensues when their absent mother is mentioned, that they’re all just starting to settle into the new normal.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Maggie has endured so much. Her mother left and she will no longer be home schooled. Her brothers are ready for the challenge, but she remains in trepidation. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Avid Reader
Hicks is a Nova Scotian graphic artist who is entirely new to me, but given the quality of this third book, I’ll definitely be hunting up her first two. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Michael K. Smith
I'm a big fan of faith Erin hicks and this comic did not disappoint! I recommend it for other fans of her workPublished 5 months ago by Jolene
This was recommended to me by an adult, but it's not a book for adults. It's made more for kids in middle school. It's a cute story, though.Published 8 months ago by Betty
Oh. My. GOD. I loved this graphic novel beyond words (well obviously not too beyond words since I am writing a review for it). Irregardless, this was amazing! Read morePublished 10 months ago by PaigeM.
I hate to give this a bad review, but I'm torn. The artwork is what caught my eye at first. It's very cute & detailed. Read morePublished 11 months ago by LittleBee
It's honestly been a long time since I've read a graphic novel. I used to be really into them but I kind of just stopped and I don't know why. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Gaby