Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

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Parents' Guide to

Friends Forever

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Third graphic-novel memoir tackles tough issues with heart.

Friends Forever Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 14+

Too Mature for Ages 10-12 - Not Suitable for Elementary School

I am an elementary school Library Tech for students TK-6th grade. My library already has the first two books in this series, Real Friends and Best Friends, so I purchased Friends Forever as well. My school counselor brought some incidents in the book to my attention when a 5th grader asked her what Strip Poker was (page 137). She explained in a round about way that it's a gambling game and proceeded to define strip as stripping paint, for instance. Gotta be creative! This same section includes a boy bringing alcohol and two boys drinking and a boy asking a girl to make out...it's always tricky when it's a graphic novel as pictures are very clear as to what is going on. Don't get me wrong, I don't find this book objectionable for the right age group. The book cover does say "Eighth grade: It's complicated." But the Publisher and Kirkus Reviews both have the recommended age at 10-14. For an elementary school, this is too mature for 10-12 year olds.
age 13+

Warning - Sexual Approach by an adult

I can't speak to the whole book - we ended up with it through the library, but one of the scenes depicts a mall Santa groping one of the 13-year old girls and telling her "I want you so badly". I was blown away by this, I'm not sure what the correct age audience is, but certainly not elementary. The girl feels ashamed and icky, but doesn't tell anyone (so it's not really a teaching moment or anything).

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (9 ):

This is a touching, uplifting memoir that tackles serious issues of depression and sexual harassment realistically, with heart, so that it's sure to inspire empathy for 13-year-old Shannon. Friends are an important part of Shannon's life in Friends Forever, but the real focus is her personal struggle with depression and how she's able to start accepting and loving herself just as she is. It also stands well on its own, recapping enough of the previous books so that readers who start with this one won't feel like they're missing anything. Tweens and middle schoolers, especially girls, will easily relate to Shannon as she tries to make sense of herself and her life while big changes and feelings are going on all at once.

The graphic-novel format makes it a great choice for reluctant readers, with dynamic illustrations that convey big emotions and subtle facial expressions equally well. It's also a good opportunity to talk to kids about mental health issues, and what they can do if they experience or see "creepy" adult behavior.

Book Details

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