Rebecca's Reviews > Friends With Boys

Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
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May 16, 2012

really liked it
Recommended to Rebecca by: Gift from Mark
Read on May 15, 2012

** spoiler alert ** My brother is an excellent resource when it comes to keeping an eye out for fun and age appropriate graphic novels. He hit the mark when he brought me, Friends with Boys. It is both fun and safe for pre-teen and early teen readers.

I liked the author's use of the character Alister. He demonstrates the power of redemption and thoughtful interaction. He is cool, yet reflective. His character reminds the reader that the feelings we have surrounding our choices are an important guide in our personal evolution. He also shows that kindness can be cool.

The protagonist's ability to work through her fear and frustration surrounding public school for the first time was equally instructive. The sense of being overwhelmed was beautifully illustrated. Yet, she found ways to confront these fears and develop a plan and place of comfort.

Despite that, I was a little lost on the role of the ghost. I wasn't sure what to make of it. I was a bit distracted by my need to try and figure her out. Was this a haunting? Was it meant to serve as a device to show the disconnect between the cynical adult who may not always understand the trials of a teen and the teen who is experiencing the trial? Or, am I simply over thinking a story written for a pre-teen and early teen audience?

While I respect the context of the story taking place after the protagonist's mother leaves the family without explanation, I felt like its inclusion diluted the story a bit. There were so many issues that the story addressed, that I felt like the absence of the mother, while a nice tool for building context, could be its own story.

Despite all my adult criticisms of this story written for a much younger audience, I must admit that I enjoyed the read. I think it is a perfect book to put in a classroom library for 6th to 9th grade readers. I can see myself recommending it to my students who have struggled with finding a book they read independently. Additionally, the themes and ideas are both relevant and interesting for this age of reader. I'm just not quite sure how to explain the presence of the ghost. :)
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