- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: First Second; Original edition (Feb. 28 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1596435569
- ISBN-13: 978-1596435568
- Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 295 g
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #145,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Friends with Boys Paperback – Feb 28 2012
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“ Easy-to-read slice-of-life action . . . . Maggie is a likable main character . . . and her anxiety about school is well portrayed, while Hicks's black and white art is sharp and comically expressive.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Friends With Boys started as a daily web comic, still available online, but was designed to work as a book and is a pleasurable read in both formats. The art is easy to follow, lively, and engaging, with plenty of effective silent moments. For all the expected family and high school angst, the book is rife with humor. Maggie is a sympathetic and likeable character and carries the story capably . . . . Hicks handles it all with warmth and aplomb.” ―VOYA
“Fun for kids who can appreciate stories about teen angst that do not wallow in depression or self-loathing.” ―Children's Literature
“The black-and-white coloring adds a nice somber tone to resonate emotional power, capturing a textual tone that moves from comedic to serious.” ―ALAN Review
“Various panel sizes are used to full advantage, creating a cinematic effect that moves from long shots to tight close-ups. Night scenes provide good contrast and heighten the dramatic tension. Excellent pacing gives pause for reflective moments and sets up the action scenes. Hicks is a master of wordless panels, using facial expressions, gestures, and character placement to effectively convey emotions that transcend words. Her artistic brilliance is especially evidenced in the character's expressive faces, particularly the eyes. . . . Originally published as a web comic, this excellent high school drama has already developed an online following. Friends with Boys will win new fans for this talented cartoonist.” ―School Library Journal
“Filling monochrome ink-and-wash panels with wonderfully mobile faces, expressively posed bodies, wordless conversations in meaningful glances, funny banter and easy-to-read visual sequences ranging from hilarious to violent, Hicks crafts an upbeat, uncommonly engaging tale rich in humor, suspense and smart, complex characters. Readers will definitely want to have, know or be Maggie's brothers--but she herself proves to be no slouch when it comes to coping with change and taking on challenges.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Hicks excels at depicting adolescent emotion and the way feelings ricochet off the actions and reactions of others, each teenager suffering a constant and confusing onslaught of hurt and acceptance, infatuation and rejection, loneliness and relief…She also shows flashes of clever humor…But what mostly emerges is a fundamentally sweet and sensitive story, one with a rare, genuine-feeling portrait of loving sibling relations.” ―The New York Times
About the Author
FAITH ERIN HICKS is a writer and artist in Halifax, Canada. Her first two graphic novels, Zombies Calling and The War at Ellsmere, were published by SLG Publishing. Most recently, she illustrated First Second's Brain Camp. Hicks has three brothers and was homeschooled until high school. She has never seen a ghost.
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It's really well done. If I would compare it to something I've read, it feels like a more polished "Lost at Sea" with more of a plot and ability to have a continuing story line.
People may not like the plot or the pacing (it's done well, but people could get picky with it), but the character development is done well and that's the main thing I look for.
The art is also really well done.
As a home schooled child, Maggie's only close friends have been her brothers. But now that she enters high school, she must learn all about acceptance, putting herself out there, and finding peace with her mother's mysterious departure.
The illustrations were well done, and the characters easy to relate to. I loved the whole punk hair does. It was a breath of fresh air seeing teens that didn't fit into stereotypes. A quick read that will make you want to take a break and watch the Alien movie.
And now I have. Starting with The Adventures of Superhero Girl, and moving along to the excellent Friends With Boys.
And Friends With Boys is a different animal indeed. Canadian storyteller Faith Erin Hicks creates this emotion laden tale with a hint of the supernatural thrown in.
We start with Maggie, a fourteen year girl living in a small town with her three older brothers and her dad. She wakes up scared in the first few pages, all because it is not only her first day in grade nine in a public high school, but also the pain of her mother recently leaving the family is still raw. The absence of the mother, who home schooled all the kids till they reached the magical age of high school, is palpable in those opening pages and permeates the rest of the story.
Terrified by everything new now happening, Maggie slowly makes her way around school, surviving crowds she has never experienced before, gasping at new sights, and slowly learning how to talk to people who are not related to her. She also witnesses her brothers in a different light entirely. Oldest Daniel seems to be friends with virtually everyone and provides the most support to Maggie. Twin brothers Zander and Lloyd constantly fight and argue, but now it feels more personal, less fun.
Into this mix and mess of emotions and turmoil comes something new for Maggie. Friends. A quasi goth brother and sister named Alistair and Lucy, who emit secrets of their own. Pieces of this past slowly dribble to her throughout the story, making Maggie realize how even more complex people are.
All these entwining stories confuse and confound Maggie, who just wants everyone and everything to be fine. As time and troubles march on, she decides the only thing she can make better is to save the ghost.
That’s right, the ghost. For years, ever since she was a child, a ghost of a teen girl from long ago would occasionally float by, silently keeping watch on her. Maggie has no concept why this is happening, but a quest to rectify whatever issues the ghost has with moving on becomes a central thrust later in the book.
In so many ways, Friends With Boys deals with not just a teen girl facing life, but facing life with a sense of abandonment. Faith Erin Hicks expands and explores what Maggie goes through, adding layers of angst from loneliness and conflicted feelings to the pain.
Friends With Boys screams for a sequel, all to see how the rest of grade nine goes, in the physical world, the emotional spectrum, and the spiritual realm, for Maggie.
She has learned much, but still has much more to learn.
The author is obviously writing from her own life seeing as she was homeschooled until high school and has three brothers. This is the background of the main character in the book, added to Maggie's life is that her mom has just skipped out on them without her really knowing why and Maggie has been haunted by a 17th century ghost since she was about six. I really enjoyed this book. I think it gave a fairly accurate portrayal of homeschool life though Hicks did treat it like it was the 1990's, not now when it has become pretty much mainstream. (I was homeschooled for high school in the '80s and have been homeschooling my children in one way or another for the last 19 years.)
The title is a little deceptive as I thought we might get into dating and stuff, but it refers to sisters being friends with their brothers and I really appreciated this theme. I don't have any brothers but I really envied the close relationship Maggie had with hers and how the relationship between Lucy and Alistair developed also. The book deals with other typical teen subjects such as being new to a school, dealing with bullies, how to make friends and what it's like when your brother is popular but you are not. Hicks artwork is as expected and truly measures up to her other work making it a delight to look at. The only problem with this could be that she draws her characters very similar and the main two females in this book are almost identical to the two females in "The War at Ellesmere" with different hairdos.
I loved the characters, the story about the teens at school, the family dynamics, etc. but the bit about the ghost haunting was an oddity. It stuck out at first and didn't seem to fit in with the rest but eventually it came together and found a place within the larger scheme of things. Only, while I was happy with the way things ended for the humans in the story, the ghost ending was rather abrupt and left many unanswered questions. These kinds of endings bother me, but it does give one thoughts to ponder. Taken as a whole, this is my favourite book by Faith Erin Hicks so far and the small irritations I had with it don't amount to the lessening of my enjoyment, so I'm sticking with the full 5 stars.
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