Maggie McKay in Friends with Boys, a graphic novel by comic book artist Faith Erin Hicks, faces the unnerving first day of high school. Maggie, like her three older brothers, is homeschooled by their mother up until 8th grade. At the beginning of this poignant graphic novel, their mother has already left, making Maggie’s first day of school even more daunting. Of course, just the mention of homeschooling paints an awkward picture of Maggie and her family, making it seem like her parents may have chosen homeschooling as an authoritative and controlling measure. But their father, a sheriff in the small town where they live, is more of a loving, support figure. Once in school, and after a few days of observing from the sidelines, Maggie befriends Alistair and Lucy, a brother and sister. Both are outcasts for various reasons, but mainly because of the way they look and dress. Maggie has only had her brothers for friends so Lucy is her first female friend. As the three become friends, Maggie learns about her own brothers and their interactions with the general student population. Also, all along Maggie misses her mother and blames herself for her leaving. If all this isn’t bad enough, there’s a ghost stalking Maggie. Yes, that’s right---paranormal activity!
These characters, and captivating story are brought to life with artwork that is slightly nostalgic of the classic comic style. This graphic novel for teens isn’t as much a coming of age novel as it is a coming into the world novel while making discoveries in stride. Even though the mood of the story is melancholy, there is an undertone of hope. It’s about teens longing for connection and belonging, rather than suffering from lonely angst. This book is in the Older Teens section of the OCPL system.