A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Friends with Boys is an open-hearted graphic novel about a Canadian girl manuevering through her first year of public high school after being homeschooled with her brothers. There's a little bit of violence and swearing (including "bitch," "ass," etc.), but overall it's an affecting tale of an outsider learning to fit in. One subplot centers on a ghost that only the main character can see.
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What's the story?
After years of being homeschooled, Maggie starts attending the local public high school where her three older brothers are enrolled. As she struggles to fit in, she makes new friends, deals with her sadness about her mother having abandoned their family, and learns to see her brothers from a different perspective. She's also haunted by the ghost of a ship captain's widow.
Is it any good?
FRIENDS WITH BOYS is a charming, open-hearted graphic novel about learning to deal with family and friends while developing your own personality. In both her expressive art and her well-tuned script, Canadian author-illustrator Faith Erin Hicks does an excellent job of capturing the fear and joy of freshman year. The plot's supernatural element isn't seamlessly integrated with the more realistic material, but it doesn't derail the narrative, either.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the advantages and disadvantages of being homeschooled. Why might formerly homeschooled students have trouble making the adjustment to a public high school?
Why do you think the author included an element of fantasy -- a subplot about a ghost that presumably only Maggie can see -- in an otherwise realistic portrait of Maggie's high school experience?
What sets Maggie's new friends -- all outsiders at the high school -- apart from their classmates? How important is fitting in at school?
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For kids who love high school stories
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