Friends with Boys
By Faith Erin Hicks
Published 2012 by First Second
Maggie is starting high school after being homeschooled for the majority of her life. Her brothers are around to look out for her, but things have been harder for her family since her mother left. Maggie struggles to make friends (besides her brothers), deal with her mother's absence, and, oh yeah, figure out why she sees that ghost in the graveyard.
I love graphic novels and I was really looking forward to this one. It seemed to be getting decent reviews and sounded like it had potential for an interesting story. When I decided to participate in The Hub Reading Challenge, it was a no-brainer for me to put this on my list of books to tackle. Unfortunately, I wasn't terribly impressed with this one.
What I liked best about this: the characters. Maggie is a great main character - it was easy to relate to her and I wanted to know more about her. I loved learning about her family and the relationships between Maggie and her brothers and among the brothers are well-done and very realistic. I love good sibling relationships in my fiction for youth and this book does that incredibly well. I also liked Lucy and Alistair, another interesting sibling relationship and more fascinating characters to get to know. I also love the art. The style is perfect for the story and everything flows incredibly well. There are some nice quiet moments throughout that the art captures perfectly. Hicks definitely is a talented artist.
What I didn't really like: I guess I was just underwhelmed by the story. I thought it would be more of an adjustment for Maggie, moving from homeschooling to public school but, actually, she doesn't really seem to have that much trouble with the transition. I thought the storyline with the ghost was weak - I get the point Hicks was making here, but it just didn't seem that strong to me.
Overall, I thought this was a decent read, impressive for the characters and art. I will give Hicks another shot and hope she tells a more engaging story next time around.