It’s Maggie’s first day of high school after years of homeschooling. Her mother just left and she doesn’t really have any friends outside of her older brothers. Also, she’s being haunted by the ghost of a sea captain’s wife.
Friends with Boys (2012) is a delightful one-shot coming-of-age YA graphic novel with a magical realism feel. Will Maggie be able to make friends in high school? Will her brothers stop fighting with each other? Will she be able to solve the mystery of the (mostly harmless) ghost who is following her?The art is expressive–the backgrounds and facial expressions especially. Writing about a group of high-school outcasts can easily fall into cliches, but Hicks avoids the problematic tropes of the genre and crafts a fun, nuanced story about siblings and friendship. Maggie looks to the ghost as a metaphor as well as a real (dead) person with a history, which was an interesting take on the “teens get haunted more easily” story.
The story and are aren’t too scary, so if you or a teen you know isn’t fond of horror movies but still wants to have some mildly spooky fun this Halloween, I recommend Friends with Boys.
Contains ghosts, teen angst, high school drama (both senses), divorce, hanging out in graveyards, larceny, fist fighting, bullying.