I’d been hearing good buzz about this teen graphic novel since before it was published last year, and finally actually checked it out.
Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks.
Maggie is the youngest of five and the only girl. All of the kids were homeschooled until high school, and Maggie, just about to start, is decidedly nervous. She doesn’t know how to be friends with girls and misses her mother, who’s left home. Her brothers start off trying to let her find her own way, leaving Maggie even more alone. She’s approached by punkish Lucy and her brother Alistair, and confused by the animosity of the cool volleyball team captain towards both Alistair and her oldest brother. There’s a touch of the supernatural as Maggie is haunted by the ghost of a 19th century sea captain’s wife, echoing Maggie’s own feelings of loss and confusion. We don’t really know why the mother has left, or if she’s left permanently or temporarily: she’s just gone.
Even with ghosts, a missing mother, and jocks with superiority complexes, the story is far from depressing. It’s all mixed with a good dose of humor from all parties. The scene that had both my love and I snorting involves Maggie, Lucy and Alistair going to see a late-night showing of Alien together. Maggie and Alistair have both seen it already and like it, but Lucy has never seen it and isn’t a fan of horror movies to begin with. The page is filled with panels showing the three watching the movie. Maggie sits, smiling slightly, through the whole thing. Alistair looks blasé. In between the two of them, Lucy watches in squirming horror, changing every panel.
I am oversimplifying the whole book here, as we have time to get to know all of the brothers, and for the friends to get involved in adventures as well as simple school and movies. This totally lived up to the hype, and my love and I both thoroughly enjoyed it. While it’s appeal isn’t limited to teen girls, as most Western graphic novels seem to be skewed male, this is a good one to remember for solid girl appeal.