Friends with Boys, Paperback
4 out of 5 (29 ratings)


A coming-of-age tale with a spooky twist! Maggie McKay hardly knows what to do with herself. After an idyllic childhood of homeschooling with her mother and rough-housing with her older brothers, it's time for Maggie to face the outside world, all on her own.

But that means facing high school first. And it also means solving the mystery of the melancholy ghost who has silently followed Maggie throughout her entire life.

Maybe it even means making a new friend one who isn't one of her brothers.

Funny, surprising, and tender, "Friends with Boys "is a pitch perfect YA graphic novel full of spooky supernatural fun."


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages, black & white illustrations
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Comic strip fiction / graphic novels
  • ISBN: 9781596435568



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Showing 1 - 5 of 29 reviews.

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Review by

For Maggie, a lot of stuff is changing. Not only is she starting her first day of high school (also her first day of public school ever since she was homeschooled before), but her mom's left the family and her dad's got a new job. Her brothers are fighting and she's being haunted by a ghost. It's a lot for a girl to take. But as Maggie learns to navigate the crowded halls of high school, she'll also start to figure out that you have to move on with your life and take the changes as they come. I was attracted to pick up this book because I'm interested in reading more stories about homeschoolers. Maggie is NOT a girly girl. She's much rather run around with her brothers, but in high school she'll have to start making her own way. Soon she learns that there's more about everybody than meets the eye and the decent people are the ones who embrace differences instead of making fun of them. Expressive art combines with a relatable storyline to make a graphic novel that many teens will identify with.

Review by

Maggie McKay is a bit lost at the moment. See she’s entering high school for the first time. Which would be bad enough, but Maggie has never been in a traditional school before. She’s only been home schooled with her older brothers by their mother...who by the way has left the family for pastures unknown. So now Maggie’s facing the real world for the first time, without her mom there for support, and to top it off her brothers seem to be busy with their own lives and forgetting about her! And oh yeah, there’s a silent ghost that follows her around. So Maggie has to face the real world for the first time, attempt to grow up a bit and find her own place in the world and in her family. Along the way perhaps she’ll make a new friend (one who isn’t an older brother) and solve the mystery of the quiet ghost who has followed Maggie her entire life.I’ve been following the webcomic release of this book for some time now and I’ve really enjoyed it so far, in part because the author’s commentary provides such great insight. some ways I really wish the book had the commentary because it describes so much of what the author is really thinking and it’s just nice to be able to read that part of the creative process. Alas the book does not have this, but I’m still excited to have this review copy. Faith accurately captures that feeling of confusion, of hopelessness when entering high school and does a fantastic job of making the characters feel real. You can easily identify them as someone that you may have come across in your own school and identify with that sense of confusion, of loss, of discovering who you are. It’s a good coming of age story and it’s nice to see how Maggie grows and changes during the pages of the book as she finds her place in the world at large. And in her family. And I love the other characters in the story, especially Lucy. She’s so energetic, so confident in who she is and what she is that I love seeing her on the pages of the story. What really stands out to me though is the fact that Maggie and Lucy are both strong female characters. They’re completely grounded in reality so they have their faults, but they don’t ever fall into that “woe is me, I’m a girl and can’t do anything mode.” I really like the artwork in the book. Faith has a way of capturing the characters perfectly. They have a lot of depth to their expressions so that even without the words of the story you can tell what’s going on. I get lost looking at the expressions sometimes while reading, because it is just so pitch perfect. Faith also has a way of capturing the feelings and movements of being in high school. That sense of being crowded and all alone at the same time. And that sense of relief at finding someplace to be yourself. And I love the maps that Maggie draws to find her way around the school and identifying the places not to go, like the makeout corner. It almost feels like maybe this is part of a series as there are a couple of questions left unanswered, such as where is Maggie’s mom and what’s the story with the ghosts? Even if there are no sequels this is a good coming of age tell with strong female characters and I give the book 4 out of 5 stars. A review copy of this book was provided by Gina at FirstSecond

Review by

Reason for Reading: I enjoy the author/artist and was intrigued that the book was about homeschooled teens.The author is obviously writing from her own life seeing as she was homeschooled until high school and has three brothers. This is the background of the main character in the book, added to Maggie's life is that her mom has just skipped out on them without her really knowing why and Maggie has been haunted by a 17th century ghost since she was about six. I really enjoyed this book. I think it gave a fairly accurate portrayal of homeschool life though Hicks did treat it like it was the 1990's, not now when it has become pretty much mainstream. (I was homeschooled for high school in the '80s and have been homeschooling my children in one way or another for the last 19 years.) The title is a little deceptive as I thought we might get into dating and stuff, but it refers to sisters being friends with their brothers and I really appreciated this theme. I don't have any brothers but I really envied the close relationship Maggie had with hers and how the relationship between Lucy and Alistair developed also. The book deals with other typical teen subjects such as being new to a school, dealing with bullies, how to make friends and what it's like when your brother is popular but you are not. Hicks artwork is as expected and truly measures up to her other work making it a delight to look at. The only problem with this could be that she draws her characters very similar and the main two females in this book are almost identical to the two females in "The War at Ellesmere" with different hairdos. I loved the characters, the story about the teens at school, the family dynamics, etc. but the bit about the ghost haunting was an oddity. It stuck out at first and didn't seem to fit in with the rest but eventually it came together and found a place within the larger scheme of things. Only, while I was happy with the way things ended for the humans in the story, the ghost ending was rather abrupt and left many unanswered questions. These kinds of endings bother me, but it does give one thoughts to ponder. Taken as a whole, this is my favourite book by Faith Erin Hicks so far and the small irritations I had with it don't amount to the lessening of my enjoyment, so I'm sticking with the full 5 stars.

Review by

I liked this graphic novel about a young girl adjusting to some big changes in her life. Maggie McKay is starting her first day of school at the start of ninth grade. She had been home-schooled by her mother along with her three older brothers. When the story begins, her mother is gone, maybe left to find herself, her father has accepted the job as chief of police and gotten a haircut, and Maggie is going to school for the first time. Her brothers are there but are busy with their own thing leaving Maggie a bit lost and lonely. She makes friends with Lucy, who believes in ghosts, and Lucy's older brother Alastair. They are all sort of outcasts together. There is some tension between Alastair and the Big Man on Campus - Matt - who is the leader of the volleyball team and some tension between Alastair and Maggie's oldest brother Daniel.Adding to the adjustment problems is the fact that Maggie sees a ghost and has seen her for years. From Lucy she learns that the ghost is the wife of a ship captain whose ship vanished. The woman lost her husband and all three of her sons. When the ship reappeared, everyone was gone. There was nothing left but the captain's prosthetic hand which is now housed in a local museum. Lucy and Maggie want to see if they can find out what the ghost wants so that they can lay her to rest - but Lucy would really love to see her first.The story is well-drawn in a sort of manga, anime sort of way. The characters all seem to have big eyes and pointy chins. The color palate makes most of the characters look sort of scruffy. There are lots of shades of gray along with the black and white. The story is very clear and understandable and easy to follow for this graphic novel novice. I thought that the author/illustrator got quite a lot of character development in despite the relatively small amount of text in the story. I recommend it for fans of graphic novels who want something that doesn't involve any sort of superhero.

Review by

Easy to read and enjoyable story of a girl trying to make her way in the world of high school.

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