Review: Friends with Boys

Friends with Boys
Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Full of teen angst and fear about finding her tribe, it's easy to identify with Maggie as she begins her first year of high school after being home schooled. The catch? Maggie's also being haunted by a local ghost.

Hicks' black and white marker art is perfect for this coming-of-age tale. Her character's wide-eyed faces are pleasantly imperfect. Maggie's older brother isn't perfectly sized, and he's the most popular character in the book.

I appreciate that Hicks uses familiar tropes of high school relationships without letting her characters become cardboard stereotypes. The relationships between Maggie and her brothers and the larger school community are complex and interesting. Maggie's anguish and confusion at the loss of her mother is palpable. There are no easy fixes. I found myself wanting more from the story, though; the character development in a graphic novel can be slow, especially when the pictures tell the bulk of the story. Hicks gave me a taste of this family, but it wasn't enough to whet my appetite.

I admit I also love that one of her brothers is doing a musical about zombies.

There's a nice twist at the end that might be anticipated by savvy readers, but I didn't, and I like that.

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