cover image Friends with Boys

Friends with Boys

Faith Erin Hicks. Roaring Brook/First Second, $15.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-59643-556-8

After being homeschooled her whole life, Maggie is starting high school at a public school and she’s understandably terrified. Anxiously she goes to school and eventually makes a few friends that others might consider weird because of how they look, but they turn out to be good comrades. In the midst of this easy-to-read slice-of-life action, Maggie is also being haunted by a female ghost who died about 200 years ago. Despite the addition of the ghost to the story, the graphic novel continues in realism mode, instead of shifting to a horror tale. And while the book starts out strongly, it leaves many things unanswered, like why Maggie’s mother left or what the ghost wants, leading to a somewhat abrupt ending. Maggie is a likable main character, however, and her anxiety about school is well portrayed, while Hicks’s black and white art is sharp and comically expressive. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)