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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Friends with Boys presents a reasonably realistic portrait of a small-town high school, with all its rivalries, cliques, and outsiders.
Over the course of her confusing freshman year, Maggie learns to accept her family and new friends for who they really are, rather than holding onto her old perceptions of them.
Positive Role Models
Sad and confused by her mother's departure, Maggie enters her freshman year of high school feeling especially vulnerable. As she makes new friends and tries to fit in, she develops a new perspective on what it means to be comfortable with your own choices.
Violence & Scariness
Two high school boys have a fistfight that lasts one page and results in a black eye and a split lip. Maggie's brother performs in a school play involving zombies, but the mayhem is played for laughs.
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A few uses of words like "bitch," "sucks," "ass" and "a--hole," said mainly by older high school boys.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One scene in which one of Maggie's friends drinks beer, becomes midly intoxicated, and is called a "lightweight."
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.