FRIENDS WITH BOYS by Faith Erin Hicks (First Second), 224 pages, $18.50 paper. Rating: NNN
Call it a teen drama layered with a supernatural mystery. Or a coming-of-age tale co-starring a ghost whose silence says more than you'd think. Whatever you call it, Friends With Boys is a compelling graphic novel.
The third release from Halifax's Faith Erin Hicks, Friends With Boys takes the reader into Maggie's home, where she's surrounded by three brothers, a cop dad and questions over why her mom abandoned the family.
She goes to a new school with the kind of anxiety any newcomer experiences, and soon finds the friendship of a brother-sister duo on the fringes of high school cliques. Maggie feels at home with these outsiders, since she's always felt abnormal - never girlie, always too tomboy.
Hicks weaves a few supernatural elements into the Ghost Worldesque town, but it never feels kitschy or clichéd. As in her other work, Hicks's art is gorgeous. Sometimes the perfect facial expression says more about a character than any thought bubble. She also adds some nice humour to her drawings, especially of scenes from a school play.
Some might view this as a young adult book, but it's a fantastic read for everyone. Friends With Boys is sure to take you back to that high school daze when life often felt boxed in - like the panels of a comic.
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