Author: Faith Erin Hicks
Age Range: 11-13 (from Kirkus)
Genre: Magical Realism
Format: Graphic Novel
Plot: Maggie, like all three of her older brothers, has been homeschooled by her mother through the junior high years. Her whole life as she knows it has revolved around her home. But now, two things have changed. This year, Maggie is entering high school. Also, her mother is gone. Maggie enters high school expecting to be taken care of by all of those older brothers, but quickly realizes that they all have lives of their own. Eventually, she befriends a young outsider, Lucy, and her older brother. Amidst a ghost story and some rule breaking, Maggie learns about the complicated relationships that develop and change in high school, and sets about trying to make some things right for herself and her family.
Review: Maggie is believable and wonderful. Hicks does an amazing job telling her story through words and easy to follow but interesting artwork. Maggie’s first year of high school is spent learning how to fit in, and who she wants to fit in with, while observing the changes happening for all three of her older brothers and even her father at home. With no mother to guide her, Maggie falls to talking with a ghost from the local graveyard, and even gets in some serious trouble trying to help the spirit out. The fantastic elements in this story are just another way of looking at the kinds of relationships we can have with others, and manage to add a bit of a spooky sci-fi element to the story which goes along great with Maggie’s character: a sci-fi movie loving, unique, intelligent young woman.
Themes: New School, Making New Friends
Maggie: Growing up with 3 older brothers, Maggie is finally being forced to really fend for herself when she enters high school. She befriends Lucy and Alistair and goes on many small-town adventures with this brother-sister duo. Maggie is very intelligent, but still manages to find herself in some sticky situations
Lucy: Another new freshman and younger sister of Alistair. She has never really fit in, and seems proud of that fact. Another young girl who hasn’t had the friendship of many other young girls, she is happy and thankful to become Maggie’s friend.
Alistair: Lucy’s older brother. Used to be part of the volleyball team, and therefore the popular crowd, but he has given that up and become an outsider, all for the sake of his sister. Of course she doesn’t know that.
Daniel: Maggie’s oldest brother. He’s a drama club kid, and surprisingly popular for the non-sporting crowd. He is the same age as Alistair, but does not get along with him due to past events of high school. He is concerned about Maggie hanging around him and Lucy so much.
Hicks, F. E. (2012). Friends With Boys. New York: First Second.
As if dealing with the first year of high school wasn’t enough, Maggie’s being haunted by a ghost from the local graveyard.