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Real Friends

(Real Friends #1)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  29,277 ratings  ·  2,543 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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Pamela Powell Yes, but they would need to read the whole book. I know too many children who start books but don't finish them, but the redemption and hope in this s…moreYes, but they would need to read the whole book. I know too many children who start books but don't finish them, but the redemption and hope in this story come at the end. And definitely make sure the insecure child reads Ms. Hale's author note at the end.(less)
Haley I think it would be good for any grade. I keep reading it over and over again.

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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  29,277 ratings  ·  2,543 reviews

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Jun 14, 2020 rated it liked it
A simple and beautiful graphic memoir!

Once upon a time there was a girl with red hair

who believed her destiny was to ride alone.

But an old evil was rising in the north lands,

at the final moment, when all seemed to be lost,

she cried out for help.

The many friends she had made on her journey heard her call.

And they came running.

After all, no one's destiny is to be alone.


Real friends
Real Friends (Real Friends, #1) by Shannon Hale

Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts han
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 Reader
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 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
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
Real Friends will be highly relatable to many. This is a nonfiction, graphic-novel account of author Shannon Hale's elementary years up to 5th grade, specifically, her upsetting experiences with friendship. Going only by the title and cover art, I thought this would be a mostly feel-good story about friendships that grow into the solid kind that last a lifetime. It's the opposite. Hale struggled with a selfish clique of popular girls who included her in their group sometimes but simply tolerated ...more
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
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 illustrations, 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 ...more
Jasmine from How Useful It Is
Yeah I pretty much read it overnight in one sitting! This memoir was a great read, though I loved book 2 a bit more. This book deals with bullies, both at home and at school. Definitely hard being kids even though their main goal was to find one best friend. The next day I questioned my third grader if he was bullied in school and unfortunately yes and that it happened last year in second grade. I'm heartbroken that kids so young and already know how to be so cruel. Graphic novels are fast reads ...more
This review does contain a few spoilers...

3.5 Stars

Real Friends is a graphic novel, the first book in a duo-logy, Real Friends, I read it because, well, I love graphic novel's plus, I kinda thought it'd be fun to read, a short, quick read.

Plot, of the book starts with Shannon, who make a friend, Adrienne, they are friends for quite some time until, Adrienne moves, and everything goes wrong, but then she moves back, but now Adrienne's friends with the popular kids, then later so is Shannon, but
Elle (ellexamines)
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
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. ...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.
kazually ♡
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.
Julie Zantopoulos
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

Real Friends by Shannon Hale is and will always be one of my favorite graphic novels. It’s poignantly heartbreaking while being joyously uplifting at the same time. I’m so glad to finally have a copy to add to my shelf.

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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
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.
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
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
Jessica Woodbury
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.
Elementary school friendships and all the drama around them are still all deep in the recesses of my brain. They have become personal mythology, and even if I don't talk about them much as an adult, all the joy and the pain is still vivid. So reading REAL FRIENDS was almost like a therapy session, bringing a lot of things back to the surface, identifying a lot of emotions that were familiar.

It is amazing how complex Hale gets, the twisted strands of different friends, family and sibl
I'm always trying to stay up with what my students are reading (basically impossible with wanting my own reading time, but I try!). I had this one in our March Madness reading bracket and was surprised it made it to the final round! EVERYONE was reading it. I expected to think it was cute, but not be overly impressed, as I often feel that way about some of their favorites.

But I LOVED it. It took me right back to elementary school. I think you would be hard-pressed to find a girl who didn't have
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
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 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
More like a 3 for me personally because I am an adult and because I felt like this was a story I have read (and heard in real life) so many times before. BUT it was well executed and kids do need to keep having new* accounts of how it isn't just them being bullied or feeling like they don't fit in.

*(Because people don't keep and read old books, I guess?)
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
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
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Omigosh. This would have helped me *so* much when I was young! If I'd read it then, I may have actually found a friend someday....

I see that there's a sequel. I don't see how that can be, but I'll check it out.
Reread in prep for sequel. Still like it a lot. As I said there, I don't think Hale intended a sequel. But it works out ok, even though this had a full arc.
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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

Other books in the series

Real Friends (3 books)
  • Best Friends (Real Friends, #2)
  • Friends Forever

Articles featuring this book

If you're still looking for books to inspire your young reader, middle grade graphic novels just might do the trick. Perfect for...
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“For you when you're feeling lonely and worried so you'll remember that you're not alone.” 4 likes
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