Graphic Novel Review: Best Friends by Shannon Hale, artwork by LeUyen Pham

Best Friends by Shannon Hale, artwork by LeUyen Pham. First Second, 2019. 9781250317469.

I’m a huge fan of Hale’s Rapunzel graphic novel and her Princess in Black series, which Pham illustrates. But for no good reason it took an overwhelming amount of library folks telling me how great Hale’s autobiographical graphic novel series is to finally get me to pick one up. This, the second in the series, lives up to every positive thing everyone said about it.

It’s 1985, and Shannon is working at a library in Salt Lake City. She feels like she’s not quite a kid anymore, and her friends are as excited as she is to be starting sixth grade (and middle school). The most popular girl decides to share a locker with Shannon, and Shannon even tries to be friendly to a girl who used to bully her. (The latter doesn’t seem to be working out so well.) As some of the girls in her group start playing strange friendship games, Shannon isn’t sure when it’s okay to act silly or who is really her friend. Writing stories gives her a chance to escape the issues a bit, but mostly her “friends” cause her a lot of anxiety.

I’m shelving this one next to Svetlana Chmakova’s Berrybrook Middle School graphic novels.


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