Faith Erin Hicks
Friends With Boys is a new graphic novel from Faith Erin Hicks, creator of the webcomic Demonology 101 and the graphic novel Zombies Calling. I've never read anything from her before, but she fits in well with the First Second Books crowd, with a gentle story for the young adult crowd, with a little supernatural element thrown in for good measure. The story follows Maggie, who's going to high school for the first time after being home schooled by her mother her whole life. Her three brothers (two of whom are twins) all went to public school for high school, so it's nothing new for the family, except that this comes off of their mother leaving the family. Maggie blames herself for some things she said to her, adding more drama to the tale as Maggie falls in with two outcasts from school, and watches her popular brothers strut around the school. Maggie also has a ghost that follows her around that doesn't speak, and while she would rather have the ghost leave her alone, she wants to know what it wants as well, something she attempts to find out during the climax of the book. Hicks has some pretty fantastic cartooning skills, and really shows her storytelling abilities off in this quiet story, often using facial expressions to convey her characters' emotions. It was all very nice, but I wish there was a little more personality to this book. The characters have some quirky qualities and drama amongst themselves, but everything is just a little too neat and tidy, and the ghost element just kind of stalls out. It's hardly a memorable read, but it's nice enough if somebody's looking for a breezy, light story.