Title: Real Friends
Author: Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham (illustrator)
Published: May 2017 by First Second
Genre: Graphic novel, memoir, middle grade
How I got the book: I bought it
When best friends are not forever . . .
Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen’s #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying others.
Now every day is like a roller coaster for Shannon. Will she and Adrienne stay friends? Can she stand up for herself? And is she in The Group—or out?
Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale and New York Timesbestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham join forces in this graphic memoir about how hard it is to find your real friends—and why it’s worth the journey.
I have seen this book floating around the book blogs of the WordPress world. I love a good graphic novel so when I found it at the bookstore, I decided to pick it up.
This is a fictionalized memoir based on the author’s childhood. A lot of it is true, but she fictionalized some things to make the story flow better. We follow Shannon as a young girl and watch her grow up as she tries to hold onto friendships and figure out who she is.
Her best friend is Adrienne, but then they meet a group of girls who follow Jen around. And they’re not nice all the time. Shannon doesn’t know whether they like her or not, but she still hangs out with them because she doesn’t have anyone else.
This is a good story all middle schoolers should read. It teaches an important lesson about being nice to others and also that it’s okay to not have a large group of friends. It’s okay to not be “popular.”
All the characters were portrayed well. I could relate with Shannon so much. She was being bullied, she didn’t have a lot of friends, and she developed anxiety along the way.
Adrienne was a good character as well. She was nice to Shannon but was also friends with Jen. When Jen was mean, Adrienne didn’t do anything because she didn’t want Jen to be mean to her in return. It was a vicious cycle. The other members of “The Group” were pretty much the same way.
It was typical behavior of middle-schoolers. But Shannon managed to push through.
The writing was well done, using a good amount of narrative and dialogue. The art style was great too. It really made the story, especially when Shannon was using her imagination.
It was a quick read being a graphic novel, but it was enjoyable (and relatable) enough that I was able to read it in one sitting.
This is a great story with an important lesson on bullying and just being true to who you are. Everyone should read this, no matter what age.
Real Friends by Shannon Hale gets…
5 out of 5 stars
“All a person needs is one good friend.” -Shannon Hale, Real Friends
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