Wednesday, 20 June 2012

So I Read Friends With Boys

A 250 word (or less) review of Friends With Boys the Graphic Novel
By Faith Erin Hicks, First Second Books

Friends With Boys, by Faith Erin Hicks, is a great example of really well executed all ages fiction. The book follows Maggie McKay, a homeschooled teenager as she switches to a public high school. Along the way she has to deal with being surrounded by new people, making new friends within an alien social system, negotiating her relationships with her many brothers, and reconciling herself to her mother’s absence. Also: she is haunted. Friends With Boys deals with the idea of loneliness and isolation amongst other people: key characters are cut off from family, friends, or peers and the book hinges on the restitution (or not) of these broken relationships. As such, I’d say Friends With Boys is instantly relatable to anyone who has experienced shyness when confronted with a new social group/situation. Hicks writing, while suitably dramatic at key moments, is humourus and pleasant throughout. Her artwork, which has a manga-esque quality to it, is expressive and inviting as well. I get the impression that Hicks, when creating Friends With Boys, was trying to make the kind of book she wished existed when she was a younger reader. In the protagonist Maggie McKay, I feel Hicks succeeded in creating the kind of relatable female teen protagonists that is typically lacking in comics and fiction. If I had a daughter I would encourage her to read this. Of course, if I had a son I would encourage him to read it too: it’s a great comic for anyone.

Word count: 248

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