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Real Friends (Real Friends, 1) Hardcover – May 2, 2017

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,555 ratings
Book 1 of 2: Best Friends

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3–6—Hale revisits her elementary school years in this insightful exploration of the ups and downs of friendship. Young Shannon meets her BFF Adrienne in kindergarten, and the two bond until Adrienne moves away. When Adrienne returns, Shannon is thrilled—until Adrienne joins a clique. In over her head, Shannon copes with feelings of inadequacy as she compares herself to pretty and seemingly perfect ringleader Jen, as well as resentment and intense anxiety as callous Jenny throws barbs her way. There's trouble at home, too: middle child Shannon often feels lost and is bullied by older sister Wendy. The author reflects on her life from the vantage point of adulthood, displaying a mature awareness of her own flaws and an understanding of the behavior of unsympathetic kids such as Wendy and Jenny, and her accessible writing and hopeful tone will speak to readers. Pham's gentle cartoon images make effective use of perspective and composition to underscore Shannon's sense of alienation. Her various flights of fancy reinforce her budding storytelling abilities and provide relatable metaphors (for instance, Shannon imagining her friends as members of a royal court and herself as the jester). In Hale's afterword, she acknowledges that though she attempted to faithfully represent her experiences, she re-created some dialogue and made changes for the sake of the plot. VERDICT This tender, perceptive graphic memoir is bound to resonate with most readers, especially fans of Raina Telgemeier and kids struggling with the often turbulent waters of friendships and cliques.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

Review

“In Real Friends, Shannon Hale reflects on her own friendship-troubled elementary school years with honesty, humor and grace . . . Her readers will find much to love here, including LeUyen Pham’s brilliant and multilayered art . . . These detailed memories of elementary school will ring hilariously true to adult readers . . . At the same time, stories of whispered rumors and being left out will be achingly familiar for readers navigating those waters in the here and now.” ―author Kate Messner, writing in the New York Times Book Review

“The book's truth is as vibrant as its art.” ―Washington Post

“A heart-stabbing tale of the everyday social agonies of girlhood.” ―Wall Street Journal

“Real Friends tackles bullying, childhood anxiety, and growing pains in a heartfelt way that’ll transport every woman who went to elementary school back into her days as a young girl . . . but the book also shows us the incredible kindness and solidarity that girls can and do display.” ―The Mary Sue

“A wistful, affecting, and utterly charming exploration of the realities of childhood friendship.” ―Booklist, starred review

“This tender, perceptive graphic memoir is bound to resonate with most readers, especially fans of Raina Telgemeier and kids struggling with the often turbulent waters of friendships and cliques.” ―School Library Journal, starred review

“A wonderfully observed portrait of finding one’s place in your world.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Readers will appreciate Shannon's fantastic imagination that lightens her tough journey toward courage and self-acceptance.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Hand this book to fans of Raina Telgemeier’s and Cece Bell’s graphic memoirs.” ―Horn Book

“The author’s memoir nails what it’s like to navigate elementary-school friendships.” ―Parents Magazine

“Pham’s visual version of Hale expresses everything, with bright creativity and intense emotional suffering warring across her face, her body posture, and even in her gait. Hale fans will appreciate the look behind the curtain at where some of her amazing book ideas are rooted, and kids who have struggled with the complexity of grade school friendships, i.e., any kid, will find comfort that the dark days can be survived.” ―The Bulletin

Real Friends is honest and heartfelt, and sure to be loved by anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. The artwork is stunning, too!” ―Victoria Jamieson, New York Times–bestselling and Newbery Honor author of Roller Girl

“Fresh, fun, and achingly real. Bravo!” ―Jennifer L. Holm, New York Times–bestselling and Newbery Honor author and co-creator of Sunny Side Up and the Babymouse series

“Real Friends made me laugh, broke my heart, and gave me hope. This book is SO GOOD. SO MANY FEELS.” ―Gene Luen Yang, New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award Finalist author of American Born Chinese


Product details

  • Lexile Measure : GN290L
  • Grade Level : 4 - 6
  • Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
  • Hardcover : 224 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1626724164
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1626724167
  • Product Dimensions : 5.79 x 0.78 x 8.26 inches
  • Publisher : First Second (May 2, 2017)
  • Language: : English
  • Reading level : 8 - 12 years
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 1,555 ratings

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
1,555 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on December 10, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

Simmsy
4.0 out of 5 stars easy read - zipped through it really quickly
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 21, 2018
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Emily Gray
1.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 26, 2020
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Mr J Movsoumov
5.0 out of 5 stars Review for Real Friends
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 9, 2020
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the book lover
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 10, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 20, 2019
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