Book Review: Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks is a young adult graphic novel. In its black and white images we met Maggie McKay and her family. Maggie, her three older brothers, and her father who has recently been promoted to police chief are all struggling with their identities since Maggie's mother has left them. It is Maggie's first day at high school, after having been home schooled until then by her now absent mother. Now she needs to face the world, alone. Her brothers had already joined the realm of high school and left behind home schooling when they reached her age, and they each already have their own place in school. Maggie is adrift and literally haunted by a female ghost that she has been seeing for years in a local graveyard. As she tries to deal with the absence of her mother, and finding her place in school, Maggie forges the beginning of a friendship with siblings Lucy and Alistair.

Friends With Boys has artwork that perfectly captures the moods and emotions of the book. There is some classic comic feel to it, as well as a hint of anime or manga influence.  I loved the characters, and wish I had met Lucy and Alister when I was in school. Maggie's brothers and father were not simply accessories to her story, they each had their own dramas and conflicts within the story, some more evident than others. My only complaint is that there seemed to be too much packed into the story that some details seemed left hanging. Most of this has to do with the haunting, that left me with a good number of whys when I finished the story.

I recommend Friends With Boys to tweens, teens and adults alike. It will particularly appeal to readers that like a coming of age story told with some humor, rather than taking itself too seriously. Fans of Hicks's other work, such as The War at Ellsmere and Zombies Calling, will also enjoy this story. I enjoyed the read, and only wish it had gone on for a few more pages to add information about the ghost in the neighborhood graveyard.
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