Barbara's Reviews > Friends With Boys

Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
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's review
Mar 13, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: bullies, families, graphic-novels
Read in March, 2012

It's the first day of high school for Maggie, who has been homeschooled all of her life. Although her three older brothers also attend the same school, they are not much help since they have their own classes and social circles. Maggie is on her own--except for the ghost that keeps following her and seems to be growing more and more persistent. Since she has spent most of her formative years hanging out with her brothers, she's had little experience in being friends with females. Eventually, Maggie finds her way around school--she draws a map that helps her get to class quickly and avoid certain areas where students make out or sleep--and even ends up hanging out with two loners, siblings Lucy and Alistair. In their own ways, they are outcasts at the school, but it's clear that there is some mystery concerning the rift between the Mohawk-wearing Alistair and volleyball star Matt. When Alistair finally tells Maggie the story behind his haircut, prefacing his revelation with the statement, "It's easy to lose your soul in high school" (unpaginated), it's easy to feel his pain and his shame as well for not being brave enough to stand up for his sister or for the others such as Maggie's brother Daniel, ridiculed for his interest in drama rather than sports. Maggie is such a sweetheart that it's impossible not to like her and to ponder her fate in the sometimes-cruel high school social order. While Daniel finds his place on the stage, starring in Last of the Zombies: A Musical Extravaganza, and his character is more fully fleshed out than Maggie's twin brothers, Lloyd and Zander, they, too, struggle with identity issues, searching for individuality while often being lumped together because they are twins. The emptiness left by their mother's departure is felt by the entire family, even their police chief father. While there are some similarities to Anya's Ghost, this graphic novel can be savored for its own merits and the author's accurate depiction of the sometimes rocky shoals of high school and family. Although the ending seemed a bit rushed--I'm hoping there will be a follow up to this title--the author forces readers to examine their own assumptions about guilt and how quickly many of us are to judge others by their appearances when the appearance may be a mask of sorts. WOW! I'm so impressed that I plan to look for other titles by this author.

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