Monday, January 8, 2018
Middle Grade Monday: Real Friends by Shannon Hale
Real Friends by Shannon Hale. Illustrated by LeYeun Pham.224 p. First Second, May, 2017. 9781626727854. (Review from purchased copy.)
Middle Grade Monday features Real Friends by Shannon Hale. This graphic novel memoir tells the story of young Shannon and her best friend, Adrienne. Shannon was always content with one best friend. When Adrienne branches out and joins a group of friends, Shannon finds herself isolated despite Adrienne's efforts to include her. Of course, it doesn't help that some of the girls in the clique are mean to her, but Shannon just doesn't get the "rules" of group friendship and suffers for it. Things aren't great at home either. Her older sister, Wendy, is quite the ogre, well, bear, actually, as she's portrayed, and when she's left in charge of Shannon and her siblings, Shannon usually hides. Of course, it doesn't help that Shannon isn't above provoking her sister.
Hale is honest about her faults, she's anxious and perhaps wrestling with OCD. She does grow as the novel progresses and is basically kind. Fans of her work will note the young writer's imaginative and creative process. The palette of this graphic novel is bright. Panels are easy to follow and the universal story of trying to fit in is so relatable.
Give this poignant memoir to any reader really; but fans of Hale's work will love this. So will fans of Raina Telgemeier and Victoria Jamieson.