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2019 was the year that I discovered my love for graphic novels, and that included Hicks' other novel, Pumpkin Heads (written with Rainbow Rowell). That was one of my favorite graphic novels of last year, so I was thrilled when I found another one of Hicks' novels at my local used bookstore.
Unfortunately, Friends With Boys fell a little flat for me. It was still interesting and a pretty quick read, but it didn't quite have the same feel that their newer work does.
I liked the family aspect of this story and the coming of age moments that were captured, it was definitely a highlight of the novel. However, the paranormal aspect just didn't really connect with me and felt a bit unnecessary. I liked the art of the ghost, but her storyline just didn't connect with me.
I plan on reading more from Hicks, and if you're looking for a quick read, pick this up!
I've passed this book many times at Barnes and Noble and finally had some spare money so I picked it up. I love Hicks' art and the tag line about ghosts. I loved Anya's Ghost so I was eager to dig into this book. Maggie is unsure of high school because she had been homeschooled for many years. Her mother's absence bothers her as she's forced to change and go to public school. Her brothers are supportive enough but she's awkward. She runs into Alistair and his sister and they end up friends but there are subplots about fitting in and being yourself with various characters. It's nice enough but I felt so let down by the complete pointlessness of the ghost. It was unresolved and like oh hey we've seen it for years, whatever. It's like oh I want to tell a story about an unsure high school girl, but how to we get more readers? Mention a ghost and a mystery ship. Certainly it's not horrible, but it's just not what I expected and ends suddenly. If you love her art, pick it up, just don't expect too much supernatural plot and you won't feel let down.
This was my first graphic novel that i've ever read, and to be honest I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had a physical copy opposed to reading an ARC galley on my nook, that I recieved via Netgalley. The format was a bit screwey, with about 10-20 pages of words and then the corresponding pictures after that, which in my opinion took away from the overall effect of it, and through no fault of its own, I felt like I had a different experience then most people because of that.
I did enjoy the story though, The main character Maggie was adorable in my opinion, and I loved her three older brothers. I felt like that they made the story what it was. Maggie had been homeschooled her whole life, and now that she's in highschool she is no longer being homeschooled but needs to move on and go to public school which means she needs to make friends, and become a part of a society that she knows nothing about.
Maggie also has a secret, she see's a ghost, and has for many years. This ghost dosen't scare her, but she dosen't quite understand why its there. This book overall was a quick, and fun read. I just don't know if I got the full experience I would have from reading a physical copy versus a e-book version, that had a bit of a weird format.
I hate to give this a bad review, but I'm torn. The artwork is what caught my eye at first. It's very cute & detailed. The expressions and some of the dialogue is funny/very expressive. The story has so much potential, but it just wasn't enough. I felt like there were about 300 more pages left by the time I finished it. I have too many unanswered questions. Honestly, it feels frustrating and disappointing. I want to know more about her mom leaving, who the ghost is, why can others see it? It was a very short read, it only took me maybe an 1-1.5 hours to read, if that. Entertaining if you don't "read" into stuff too much.
It was a cute story but it didn’t really hit in the key points like how she needs to get used to change after her mom left and her dad changed his hair. The issue didn’t really resolve and the conflict in the story felt unrelated
I really enjoyed the start of this graphic novel. The art style was fun (reminded me of Scott O'Malley's
Scott Pilgrims Precious Little Boxset
series) Maggie is an interesting character - the youngest child of four, the only girl in the family, homeschooled and about to enter public high school. Her mother is not around having abandoned the family for some unexplained reason, but her father is a strong figure in her life and she is a confident young woman. I was ready to follow her on her new adventure in 9th grade.
So why is there a random ghost in this story? The "paranormal twist" felt very tacked on. It actually detracted for a very strong coming-of-age story. Maggie was refreshingly down to earth and funny. I see what the author wanted to do with the ghost, but the idea was poorly executed. I hope to see more from this writer/artist.
'Friends with Boys' is a good read but it has some flaws that keep it from being great. (If you want to read a coming-of-age story with a well-done paranormal twist, check out
When I read the book's inside flap--a story about a homeschooled girl, Maggie McKay, going to public high school for the first time, and as if that wasn't bad enough, she's also (literally) haunted--I was completely intrigued and prepared myself to fall in love. Unfortunately, it didn't happen that way.
The artwork reminded me of a classic comic style, but updated and with manga/anime influences, and the black/white/greyscale rendering actually contributed to some of the story's bleaker themes. Each of the characters were drawn with great expression of emotion and the wise arrangement of the panels made them easy to follow, plus it was well-written and well-edited.
But as much as I wanted to love this graphic novel, at times I found the main story muddied--it came across as a disjointed telling of too many stories in too short a space--and resulted in some of the themes/characters not being too deeply explored.
Basically, Maggie's was a coming of age story which explored themes like adjusting to new situations, socializing, and self-acceptance. On top of that, she had to deal with a number of inner demons--mainly surrounding the estrangement of her mother--which shadowed her literal haunting. However, the literal haunting seemed more like a contrivance to facilitate the story's climax than an integral part of the story.
Even with that quibble, I did find the book entertaining. Maggie's story was engrossing and, as a character, she was skillfully crafted. It's unfortunate that I can't say the same of all the remaining characters (at least, not consistently), many of which lacked dimension--again, probably stemming from the trying-to-cram-too-much-in problem I mentioned earlier.
The book left various threads untied and questions unanswered (possibly to be answered in future web comics*) and when I turned the final page, although I did enjoy it, I was still a bit disappointed. I should also note that if you're expecting a horror, a supernatural chiller, or even anything remotely creepy, you won't find it in this book.