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Real Friends

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  11,773 ratings  ·  1,795 reviews
When best friends are not forever . . .

Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen's #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by First Second
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Popular Answered Questions
Brianna Maybe...? If they got only 3/4 done, they would probably feel worse, thus killing the purpose of the book.
Hay Hay I think it would be good for any grade. I keep reading it over and over again.

Community Reviews

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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,773 ratings  ·  1,795 reviews

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May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
No way. I can’t believe how great this book is. If I were a wealthy schoolteacher, I’d gift this to all of my students.

This is unlike any memoir I’ve ever read. For starters, it’s a graphic novel, so it’s not your usual memoir. Also, since Shannon Hale is obsessed with stories, there are stories within this story. It’s really special.

Truthfully, the plot isn’t exceptional. I mean, it’s about a girl in middle school who has trouble making friends, and even when she makes them, she has trouble k
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The autobiography assignment. I don’t pretend to know precisely why teachers give it out or what they hope child readers will get out of it. About ten years ago, when I was a children’s librarian in New York City, it was to be feared. A small child would walk into my room, belly up to the reader’s advisory desk, and ask for an autobiography. You mean a biography? No (of course not, silly librarian). An AUTObiography, see? And there, clear as crystal, was the printed assignment. So like any good ...more
Heidi The Hippie Reader
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-my-kid
Perfect for a 10-year-old, Real Friends looks at the complex relationships among elementary school girls. It teaches readers that good friends don't treat you badly.

It also delves into the thorny issues of sibling abuse and rivalry, bullying and crushes.

I liked Real Friends not only for its story, but also for the way that it allowed me to connect with my child. We read the book together and shared our thoughts on friendships.

The author, Shannon Hale, based this book on her real life experiences
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels

I've had my eye on this graphic novel memoir set in the 80s for awhile now, so I was beyond keen on getting my reading on. I sped through this thrilling ride in one big whirlwind.
When best friends are not forever . . . 

Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen's #1, and some girls would do
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Friendship in younger years can be especially hard because our worlds are small. If you haven't found your 'group' yet, hang in there. Your world will keep growing larger and wider. You deserve to have real friends, the kind who treat you well and get how amazing you are."

I didn't realize this was a memoir about Hale's elementary school years! That made it all the more awesome. I hate cliques, so I could relate to Shannon's loneliness when her best friend joins "the group." I sometimes wish I c
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Accurate to the point of heartbreaking, this is a very honest look at the complexities of friendship and family dynamics. Some of this felt like it was copied from my Cabbage Kid Diary, some of it made me grateful that it never happened to me. Such an important read for kids and parents! This is a good one to have the whole family read and discuss, not forgetting the author's note at the back.

And of course the art is just amazing, love LeUyen's work. Just stunning.
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I got this graphic memoir from the library for my 5th grader. I can't believe I have a 5th grader. She has the kindest heart, she is much smarter, funnier, and more athletic than I ever recall being (ever) but guess what? I still hear reports about girls calling her weird, about girls forming groups, about the timeless, treacherous terrain of elementary school friendship. Children today are educated about bullying and my girl puts up with nothing, but at the end of the day, we all just want to f ...more
First Second Books
May 02, 2017 marked it as first-second-publications
Following little Shannon's life from kindergarten through fifth grade, Real Friends captures the emotional roller coaster ride of friendship, from navigating the tricky waters of cliques and bullies to her never-ending struggle to stay in "The Group." Shannon’s honest and heartfelt story reminds us of how hard it was to learn what real friends are—and why finding them is worth the journey.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
i really liked the plot & illustrations in this book. i think it moved at a nice pace and it was a fun, easy read.
Although I do have to admit that I probably would have enjoyed Shannon Hale's autobiographical middle grade Real Friends considerably more in a non graphic novel format (mostly because I do think that LeUyen Pham's accompanying artwork, whilst bright and descriptive, were and are just a bit too cartoony for my own aesthetic tastes and perhaps also my present mood), I have indeed found Real Friends both engaging and evocative (and also very much and in a painful manner reminiscent of my own child ...more
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Why is it so much easier to have virtual friends than real friends? Couldn't we just walk up to someone, and say, "You wanna be my pal?"

Shannon Hale takes a look at the difficult prospect of making and keeping friends in this terrific graphic novel. We follow the author through her sometimes lonely years at elementary school when her best (and only) friend joins a clique comprised of popular girls. Shannon gets to hover around the periphery of the group, but never really "belongs" to the gang.


Julie Zantopoulos
This was such a cute graphic memoir about friendship, the social structure as you grow up, and the anxiety navigating it can cause children. It also touches on sibling relationships, how adults interact and listen to children and mental health issues in younger kids and teenagers. Overall, it was a very sweet graphic novel that I think would be an important and useful book for a lot of elementary aged kids.
Elise (TheBookishActress)
The cover on my arc edition is so much nicer! description

Oh my god, this was awesome. Real Friends is a brief yet heartfelt tale of being the outcast in a middle school.

This book stands out from other books about the same topic because of its emotional heart. Never does this story feel fake or fictional; it's effortlessly real. That's for a reason, given that this book is based off the author's own experiences. It was very easy to empathize with the main character.

I loved the emphasis on being real with
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
This is a very sweet graphic novel about friendship. I really enjoyed it. It was just the kind of book I needed to read right now.
Like many, my tween years were rough. Actually, that’s a vast understatement. I spent most of sixth grade hiding in my bedroom, trying to will myself into the narrow constraints my school’s resident Mean Girls set for us. Were GAP jeans cool this week? Or was it The Limited? Is 90210 still a thing? And if so, am I supposed to hate Brenda or Kelly? Is Brandon or Dylan the cute one? All I wanted to do was ride my bike and play with Barbies. Not read YM magazine and debate the finer points of lip ...more
Monica Edinger
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My blog post.

Shannon Hale's Real Friends was a Reading Without Walls challenge for me. That is, as a child and still today, I'm not much of a group person, most likely related to my introversion. From childhood on I can recall being part of groups of people I liked, but they almost always wanted to spend way more time together than I did. Shyness is probably also a factor as we moved a lot and so I was never in a school more than three years. This made me happy to find just a single friend. Now
3 Populars are not always happy STARS

Primero una anécdota:

Para esta navidad decidí regalar Novelas gráficas, a mi hija y mis 2 ahijadas. Este libro lo vi recomendado por todos lados. Así que lo compre para regalarlo.

Pero al leerlo me di cuenta de que la protagonista y su familia son cristianos (creo), inclusive hay una escena donde aparece Jesucristo. Personalmente no me afecta. Pero si están pensando regalárselo a alguien, asegúrense de que el tópico religioso no les vaya a molestar a otros.
Katie Grace
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Now I'm convinced that I need to read more graphic novels. Writing and art? Yes please.

Real Friends is a memoir of the author's younger life and her struggles with friendship, which made it extremely heartfelt. Lots of emotion went into this story -- props to the author for willing to be vulnerable. Quick, beautiful read. <3
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
Not for me, and I would have given 1 star, but for the afterword by Shannon Hale, explaining her reasons for telling the story. Reminded me of Smile, which I also disliked for some of the same reasons. Basically, this is a book about the mean girls, where you are in the popular group and put up with the shenanigans or you're not/don't. Shannon tried to fit in, but ultimately could not abide this behavior, but then she completely ignored a girl with similar ostracism, when they met behind a bush ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This graphic novel by superhero team Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham, based on Hale's childhood school experience, made me ugly cry in the faculty room at 9:30 in the morning. Real Friends is a little TOO real, if you know what I mean, and will ring emotionally true for anyone who suffered friendship growing pains in elementary school. The subtle, uncommented-on depiction of the role of religion in Hale's young life is also completely tops. Give it to every 3rd-6th grader you know, and then to all ...more
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, yeah, I liked this. But I'm a sucker for memoir GNs.
Even though I side-eye Hale a little bit.

I liked the direct approach (hey reader, here's a story about the friends I had growing up!), combined with the slowly looming story of her Bear/Sister that got pretty dark.
I found it accessible. But I already have a fair amount of things in common with the voice here.

I did LOVE Pham's illustrations. I'm SO excited she's doing art for an upcoming Summer Reading Program.

This is great for that Telgeme
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had had this book in 4th-6th grade. It would have been good to know I wasn't the only one who felt awkward.
One of the scary things about becoming the mother of a little girl is knowing/fearing that she is likely going to experience some mean friends in her future. I think all of us have. Even the girl who I consider my best childhood friend to this day was incredibly cruel to me at times. I know I was cruel to others, and am ashamed of it. As Shannon says, when we are young our worlds are small, and it's so hard to see outside of your surroundings. If you feel like you don't fit in or haven't found ' ...more
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This graphic novel SPEAKS to me. I think most people grow up with the struggles of making not just friends, but real friends who will stick with you no matter what. Shannon Hale digs deep into her own experiences of making friends from elementary school to middle school, all the nitty gritty and painful trauma of bullies and peer pressure to join a “popular” friend group. She’s honest and introspective about her past actions and worries, her retrospective commentary is perceptive but she keeps i ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic graphic novel from prolific children's author Shannon Hale. This engaging and emotional graphic novel explores the tricky and sometimes painful experiences in school and with making friends. Topics include bullying, anxiety, being true to yourself, friendships etc. Nothing is heavy handed and this title will fly off the shelves at my library. Fantastic illustrations are done by LeUyen Pham who can draw the realistic girls as well as their imaginative play perfectly.
Okay so I actually finished this book a while ago however for some reason I've been really bad about marking my books as read in Goodreads. Anyway with that being said I must say that I enjoyed this graphic novel not only because of the artwork but also the message behind the story. It isn't easy being a kid and I think a lot of times adults make that assumption and mistake. It can be heard to make friends and even more difficult to try to fit in. This book definitely touches on the process of m ...more
Abby Johnson
Two of my favorite kidlit superstars team up for this heartfelt graphic novel that's perfect for fans of Smile or Sunny Side Up. Shannon Hale's memoir of struggling to make and keep Real Friends during her elementary school years is accessible and poignant. This is a book that will strike a chord with many young readers. LeUyen Pham's expressive artwork is a perfect match for the story and text. I have long been a fan of her work and I'm thrilled to see more longform art from her. In the acknowl ...more
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great story and great illustrations! If you like Raina Telgemeier you'll like this!
Ana Calabresi
Graphic novel and memoir and childhood memories. What's not to love about that?
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, NetGalley!

This is the story of a young Shannon, who recounts the series of friendships she had growing up and the impacts each made. I was surprised to open up Real Friends and discover it's actually a graphic memoir. As Shannon recounts her early school years through a series of friends she had, I was thrown back in time to the mid-late 80s when I was going through the same things Shannon did in the late 70s/early 80s. S
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Shannon Hale is the New York Times best-selling author of six young adult novels: the Newbery Honor book Princess Academy, multiple award winner Book of a Thousand Days, and the highly acclaimed Books of Bayern series. She has written three books for adults, including the upcoming Midnight in Austenland (Jan. 2012), companion book to Austenland. She co-wrote the hit graphic novel Rapunzel's Reveng ...more
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“For you when you're feeling lonely and worried so you'll remember that you're not alone.” 2 likes
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