Maggie, the teenage protagonist of this graphic novel, is a girl in transition. Besides the regular trials of being a teenager and leaving behind chilMaggie, the teenage protagonist of this graphic novel, is a girl in transition. Besides the regular trials of being a teenager and leaving behind childhood for adulthood, she's also leaving the familiar safety of homeschooling for the new and slightly scary experience of public high school. Perhaps the hardest transition of all has been losing her mother and dealing with the strangeness of a single parent household. To make matters worse, with everything she knows undergoing change, Maggie finds herself haunted by not only the past, but a very real ghost.
Maggie's three brothers and her Police Chief father initially offer little support as they each have their own lives and issues to focus on. This leaves Maggie open to a new friendship with punks Alistair and Lucy, both social outsiders like Maggie. As their friendship grows, tensions arise as Alistair's past behavior has left a lasting distrust from Daniel, Maggie's artistic and protective older brother. As the ghosts of her past actions, as well as the ghost of a local widow, push her to the brink, Maggie makes a rash decision which could further tear her world apart and damage the few friendships and family bonds she has left.
Faith Erin Hicks does a wonderful job fleshing out likeable characters and realistic high school trauma all with a playfully bold brush style. Her story is well paced and leaves time for emotional or humorous beats as she advances the plot. Her characters struggle with relatable teen angst--the desire to be an individual, the need to fit in, first crushes, new friends, and knowing things will never be the same. This book is well-suited for young adults going through these very experiences, as well as adults who can look back with familiarity.
Friends with Boys is a quick read and a lighthearted story with just enough mystery and emotion mixed in to keep it an engaging page turner. The ending might leave some disappointed that there wasn't enough closure, but sometimes the best way to deal with ghosts from the past is to simply focus on the future and move forward. For me, the most disappointing aspect of the ending was that my time with these characters was over.
As an avid follower of the Friends with Boys webcomic where Faith Erin Hicks has been daily publishing the pages of this book online, I jumped at the chance to receive an advance copy through Goodreads. Having been lucky enough to receive one, I voraciously read through the final pages, having previously been on such a controlled diet of content. "You can't have your cake and eat it too" was definitely the case here, since now that I've completed the book, I'll definitely miss my daily enjoyment of the unfolding story.
An excellent introduction to permaculture, Toby Hemenway delivers in-depth information without losing sight of the big picture. He also manages the diAn excellent introduction to permaculture, Toby Hemenway delivers in-depth information without losing sight of the big picture. He also manages the difficult task of holding the reader's interest, even when discussing the particulars of topics such as soil composition. Anyone from the suburban gardener to the market farmer will find valuable information on how to optimize their environment to require less external inputs and energy, while efficiently making the most of what you have. It's a book which gets you to look at your environment as a whole, and understand how the parts link together into a healthy, sustainable system. A fascinating book, I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in gardening, sustainability, ecology, homesteading, or landscape design. ...more