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Best Friends

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Sequel to Shannon Hale's award-winning graphic novel memoir, "Real Friends", this new graphic memoir picks up where "Real Friends" left off. As Shannon grows a little older, the rules of friendship always seem to be changing, leaving her guessing and trying her best to just keep up. "Best Friends" shares its predecessor's frankness, compassion, and enthralling, heartfelt v Sequel to Shannon Hale's award-winning graphic novel memoir, "Real Friends", this new graphic memoir picks up where "Real Friends" left off. As Shannon grows a little older, the rules of friendship always seem to be changing, leaving her guessing and trying her best to just keep up. "Best Friends" shares its predecessor's frankness, compassion, and enthralling, heartfelt visual storytelling. Junior high, as it turns out, is quite the roller coaster.


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Sequel to Shannon Hale's award-winning graphic novel memoir, "Real Friends", this new graphic memoir picks up where "Real Friends" left off. As Shannon grows a little older, the rules of friendship always seem to be changing, leaving her guessing and trying her best to just keep up. "Best Friends" shares its predecessor's frankness, compassion, and enthralling, heartfelt v Sequel to Shannon Hale's award-winning graphic novel memoir, "Real Friends", this new graphic memoir picks up where "Real Friends" left off. As Shannon grows a little older, the rules of friendship always seem to be changing, leaving her guessing and trying her best to just keep up. "Best Friends" shares its predecessor's frankness, compassion, and enthralling, heartfelt visual storytelling. Junior high, as it turns out, is quite the roller coaster.

30 review for Best Friends

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tucker

    F***KKKK wait, this is a children's book. i probably shouldn't swear. FOOOOOOORRRRRRRK THIS WAS SO GOOD! REView to come!! ************ Oh my GOSH OH my GOSH! I'm crying because I'M SO EXCITED

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Kids can be such assholes. I believe every word of this book, and it made me kind of sad and upset. As if Shannon didn't have enough to deal with, having undiagnosed anxiety and OCD, she had to navigate the complete stupidity of friends who "test" you by asking you if you like other kids, and suddenly announcing that you're weird or that they never liked doing the things you used to do together. It's life, it's growing up, it's a big bag of suck. I liked that she ended on a somewhat happier note Kids can be such assholes. I believe every word of this book, and it made me kind of sad and upset. As if Shannon didn't have enough to deal with, having undiagnosed anxiety and OCD, she had to navigate the complete stupidity of friends who "test" you by asking you if you like other kids, and suddenly announcing that you're weird or that they never liked doing the things you used to do together. It's life, it's growing up, it's a big bag of suck. I liked that she ended on a somewhat happier note, but I wish she could have included more happy with the sad/bittersweet. Surely, surely good things also happened?! But this book is worth it for the art ALONE. I love LeUyen Pham's work, and she does an amazing job here!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Truebluedah ♪

    12/4/18 Yasssssssss! YAS! YAS! *BANGS HEAD ON SCREEN* YASSSSSSSSSSSS IS THIS REAL? *BANG* YES! TIS REAL! Edit 9/5/19: I just read it last night in about an hour or so than stayed up till midnight marking each page with sticky notes for my review. Expect one soon! ;) MY REVIEW IS HERE.. See it on my blog: https://truebluedah.wordpress.com/201... :) (I promise I’m not trying t 12/4/18 Yasssssssss! YAS! YAS! *BANGS HEAD ON SCREEN* YASSSSSSSSSSSS IS THIS REAL? *BANG* YES! TIS REAL! Edit 9/5/19: I just read it last night in about an hour or so than stayed up till midnight marking each page with sticky notes for my review. Expect one soon! ;) MY REVIEW IS HERE.. See it on my blog: https://truebluedah.wordpress.com/201... :) (I promise I’m not trying to get y’all to go on my blog. My post has videos that I’m not able to put in a goodreads review! :D)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    I read BEST FRIENDS right after REAL FRIENDS and I was a little skeptical that it would be as good, but it delivers. While the story is more condensed, once again there's all kinds of different aspects of friendships and the strange unwritten rules of older children. The characters from the previous book are mostly still there, and the dynamics are not all that different, but Shannon herself grows up a lot as she starts to recognize more and more how her place in "the group" is holding her back I read BEST FRIENDS right after REAL FRIENDS and I was a little skeptical that it would be as good, but it delivers. While the story is more condensed, once again there's all kinds of different aspects of friendships and the strange unwritten rules of older children. The characters from the previous book are mostly still there, and the dynamics are not all that different, but Shannon herself grows up a lot as she starts to recognize more and more how her place in "the group" is holding her back and causing her pain. Her anxiety and mental health are addressed more directly here, but still in ways kids can process and relate to. What a gift these books are.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Catie

    3 1/2 stars Sixth grade is so hard. Your friends form new groups, your body becomes a stranger, your brain chemistry explodes, and everyone starts pairing off in strange pre-dating rituals. This book does a lot to help eleven year olds make sense of it all, and my daughter really appreciated it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    How do I put this delicately? If you don't like Shannon Hale, you're wrong.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    So good. This standalone sequel to Real Friends dives in deep to Shannon’s 6th grade year and her struggles with the girls she’s friends with. They’re not always nice, but she’s not always nice either. Is friendship really supposed to feel this way? And what about the bad thoughts that sometimes take over? Does everyone experience those? This is a great book to explore tween friendships but also it shows Shannon experiencing anxiety and the wats it affects her life. She writes more ab So good. This standalone sequel to Real Friends dives in deep to Shannon’s 6th grade year and her struggles with the girls she’s friends with. They’re not always nice, but she’s not always nice either. Is friendship really supposed to feel this way? And what about the bad thoughts that sometimes take over? Does everyone experience those? This is a great book to explore tween friendships but also it shows Shannon experiencing anxiety and the wats it affects her life. She writes more about it in her author’s note. Add this to the growing stack of excellent graphic memoirs for tweens.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Lucy (8yo) read this book twice on the evening of its “book birthday” and said it was “SO good.” A really great follow up to the stellar Real Friends. This story has the same themes as the first book, so some of the details are repeated. But the explorations of beginning adolescence are deeper—we see a scene where an adult comments on young Shannon’s body shape and Shannon feels weird about it. The comic format adds clarity and emotion to those weird feelings. There are scenes where Shannon feel Lucy (8yo) read this book twice on the evening of its “book birthday” and said it was “SO good.” A really great follow up to the stellar Real Friends. This story has the same themes as the first book, so some of the details are repeated. But the explorations of beginning adolescence are deeper—we see a scene where an adult comments on young Shannon’s body shape and Shannon feels weird about it. The comic format adds clarity and emotion to those weird feelings. There are scenes where Shannon feels afraid of adult men noticing her body, and a reference to periods, and she and her classmates (chastely) “go together”, so if those are themes you avoid for your kid, know that. There is also a significant reference to the Challenger spaceship tragedy. I found the treatment of all these sensitive themes to be age appropriate and nothing that my rising third grader doesn’t know about and isn’t thinking about already. In addition to feeling different or weird, Shannon also feels crushing anxiety and shows OCD behaviors. If you have a kid who deals with anxiety, this book may (or may not be! Pre-read!) be helpful to them. Anxious kids are not alone, and this book could provide a discussion starter to help parents discuss how those feelings affect their children day to day. I’m so thankful for the portrayal of Shannon’s overwhelming worry-feelings. It feels familiar to me, and I suspect it will feel familiar to other moms and kids. Finally, I LOVE Shannon’s growth as a young writer. We see her exploring possibilities for her life, learning that writers are real people and that she can be (already is!) a writer. Hale’s author’s note at the end emphasizes that her success as a writer was neither easy nor immediate. I want my daughter to take those possibilities and Hale’s example seriously.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Lower

    Open and frank discussions of friendship, anxiety, and how friendships change. I relate in so many ways to this book!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Oh my gosh, Shannon Hale has captured how hard it is to understand friends in Junior High. I so sympathize with this memoir of her life in sixth grade. I too wrote stories, and couldn't' understand all the rules that my friends had. She is so right that it is like a game where the rules are constantly changing. This is a sad book, but so needs to be said. Girls can be mean, without being Mean Girls™ The crushing anxiety must have been so hard, but I'm glad that s Oh my gosh, Shannon Hale has captured how hard it is to understand friends in Junior High. I so sympathize with this memoir of her life in sixth grade. I too wrote stories, and couldn't' understand all the rules that my friends had. She is so right that it is like a game where the rules are constantly changing. This is a sad book, but so needs to be said. Girls can be mean, without being Mean Girls™ The crushing anxiety must have been so hard, but I'm glad that she came into her self, in this volume of her story. Not a fun book, but a good book just the same.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Barred Owl Books

    “Fresh and funny.” —New York Times Book Review Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale and New York Times bestselling 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. 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 ci “Fresh and funny.” —New York Times Book Review Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale and New York Times bestselling 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. 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? Parents Magazine Best Graphic Novel of 2017 A School Library Journal Best Book of 2017 A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2017 A 2017 Booklist Youth Editors' Choice A 2018 YALSA Great Graphic Novel

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heather Johnson

    This “sequel” to Hale’s graphic memoir, “Real Friends” is just as amazing as her first book! This time, readers experience Hale navigating 6th grade with Jen, Jenny and Adrienne. As an adult, I drew so many parallels to my own experience as a 6th grader and was struck by the brilliant way Hale addressed anxiety, romantic relationships and gender expectations, and making new friends. I loved this book!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Shannon. Freaking. Hale! I love you!! I loved this book, its like she was in my 6th grade brain!! This story, like Real Friends was spot on, with the drama, insecurity, and fear that come with growing up. I would recommend this to ALL the kids! A million stars!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    This was so perfect and accurate that it was almost painful to read. Anxiety! Friendship drama! Middle School !

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Love this. So much.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    I found the depiction of anxiety and struggle for friendship in middle school very realistic.

  17. 4 out of 5

    E

    Dear Shannon, I would have been your best friend in sixth grade, because I, too, wanted to be imaginative and fun and not some Stepford Wife-in-training whose only concerns were boys and what was "in." To all of you who were or are those fun, imaginative sixth graders: I hear you. I see you. This book hears you. This book sees you. Never surrender or apologize for who you are. Never give up.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Dulaney

    Readers of Libenson’s “Invisible Emmie” and Hale’s “Real Friends” will flock to the continuation of her making friends/fitting in/finding one’s self graphic novel series. The illustrations are bold and engaging and the plot, although completely predictable, will ring true with predominantly girls in grades 3-6. Librarians and ELA teachers will be thrilled that their students are reading, but will not find many examples of literary elements to use in class or for reinforcing skills in small group Readers of Libenson’s “Invisible Emmie” and Hale’s “Real Friends” will flock to the continuation of her making friends/fitting in/finding one’s self graphic novel series. The illustrations are bold and engaging and the plot, although completely predictable, will ring true with predominantly girls in grades 3-6. Librarians and ELA teachers will be thrilled that their students are reading, but will not find many examples of literary elements to use in class or for reinforcing skills in small groups. A few notable exceptions to that criticism would be the presence of a strong sixth grade girl voice and the ability to use the textual evidence to make predictions about the outcomes. Libraries serving the target audience will want this title and can purchase it without fear of complaints about overly mature content. Thanks for the dARC, NetGalley.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: In summer, nothing ever seemed to change. The sky stayed blue. The air stayed warm. And friends stayed friends forever. Premise/plot: I’m tempted to keep it simple and short and merely say Shannon Hale’s newest book should be required reading for humanity. It’s one of those meaning of life books. Those aren’t as common as you might believe. So what is this one about? It is the follow up to her previous graphic novel, Real Friends. Both books are inspired by her childhood. Both bo First sentence: In summer, nothing ever seemed to change. The sky stayed blue. The air stayed warm. And friends stayed friends forever. Premise/plot: I’m tempted to keep it simple and short and merely say Shannon Hale’s newest book should be required reading for humanity. It’s one of those meaning of life books. Those aren’t as common as you might believe. So what is this one about? It is the follow up to her previous graphic novel, Real Friends. Both books are inspired by her childhood. Both books are set in the mid-80s. This one covers her sixth grade year, 1985/86. But it does feature a few flashback sequences to earlier years. A young Shannon is trying to figure out the rules: rules about how to be liked, how to avoid being laughed at, how to make friends, how to keep friends, how to be true to yourself yet not so true as to be deemed a weirdo. Is there a way to stay popular/semi-popular and still be kind? Why does being kind require such bravery? Is lying ever justified? Throughout it all, she’s also struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, and a bit of OCD. Whether you personally struggle with these exact mental health issues or not—I think the book is an honest and thought provoking way for readers to experience what it is like and perhaps gain a bit of empathy. Who hasn’t struggled at one age or another with friends—making, keeping, forgiving friends. It can be a traumatic, troubling thing—some may struggle a year or two before finding their people, their crowd, where they actually belong; some may spend decades struggling to find “real” or “best” friends. This book keeps it real, keeps it honest, and stays ever-relevant. My thoughts: I love, love, love this one so much. It is so honest at times that it stings when bringing up memories from the past—my past. I think no matter where you fit on the spectrum of popular or unpopular, bully or bullied, it will give you food for thought. I hope it is an empathy builder especially for children reading the book. The book is incredibly amazing. I loved the glimpse into Shannon’s past. This one will be hard to beat as a favorite of the year.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Agnes

    I really enjoyed the story to the sequel of, "Real Friends." "Real Friends" grabbed me by the first panel, but "Best Friends" took me a while to get into (mean while I am 33 reading about sixth graders...I don't think I'm the targeted audience), but once it pulled me in, I loved it! Even though I'm an adult reading these books, she speaks on universal, ageless truths that even a 33-year-old can relate to -miscommunication, reacting explosively/projecting our sadness and anger onto people who lov I really enjoyed the story to the sequel of, "Real Friends." "Real Friends" grabbed me by the first panel, but "Best Friends" took me a while to get into (mean while I am 33 reading about sixth graders...I don't think I'm the targeted audience), but once it pulled me in, I loved it! Even though I'm an adult reading these books, she speaks on universal, ageless truths that even a 33-year-old can relate to -miscommunication, reacting explosively/projecting our sadness and anger onto people who love us, learning to be OK with who you are around type-A personalities, learning to speak-up for yourself, trying to break the cycle of passed down learned family behavior that may not be healthy...I really could go on and on about all the lessons that came from both books. Shannon Hale is a master at writing relateable characters and situations. Ms. Hale does a stupendous job at making people go, "Wow! I thought I was the only one that felt like this." Her stories make you feel like you are wearing a comfort blanket, or, like, she is hugging you as you are reading her stories. I am just completely enamored by her. I, also, really appreciate the advice she gives to readers at the end of the books - visit adaa.org for more information if you feel like this. I know younger me would have blossomed sooner if she knew she wasn't alone in these feelings.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anoush

    I read this in advance of gifting it to a young friend and I'm glad I did because I'm not sure it's quite appropriate for her age. I'm going to let her parents decide. As a continuation of Hale's memoir (started in Real Friends), we see young Shannon in 6th grade. It's a lot more fun to be the oldest in the school and it's fun to watch as things go well for Shannon. I loved seeing Young Shannon writing and learning how to craft a story and I really loved seeing how a writer starts. I read this in advance of gifting it to a young friend and I'm glad I did because I'm not sure it's quite appropriate for her age. I'm going to let her parents decide. As a continuation of Hale's memoir (started in Real Friends), we see young Shannon in 6th grade. It's a lot more fun to be the oldest in the school and it's fun to watch as things go well for Shannon. I loved seeing Young Shannon writing and learning how to craft a story and I really loved seeing how a writer starts. She also addresses some of the more yucky parts of being popular and trying to conform. This book talks about lying (both lying and being lied about) and gossiping, body image issues, and also anxiety. There are no solutions but it was refreshing to see someone struggle with these issues as a real person and to see it normalized a little bit. Young Shannon had no idea what her anxiety was and neither did the adults in her life and that made it very hard to cope with.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Misti

    As she enters sixth grade, Shannon is feeling pretty good about things. She’s sharing a locker with Jen, the most popular girl in school, so she’s definitely part of the in-crowd. Things can get confusing, though: the imaginative games she used to love aren’t cool any more, sometimes the popular kids are mean, which she knows is wrong, and then there are boys... and the rules for interacting with them seem to have changed. Sometimes all of these things make her so nervous that her stomach hurts. As she enters sixth grade, Shannon is feeling pretty good about things. She’s sharing a locker with Jen, the most popular girl in school, so she’s definitely part of the in-crowd. Things can get confusing, though: the imaginative games she used to love aren’t cool any more, sometimes the popular kids are mean, which she knows is wrong, and then there are boys... and the rules for interacting with them seem to have changed. Sometimes all of these things make her so nervous that her stomach hurts. Plus, next year she will be in middle school. Will all of the rules change again? This is Hale’s second graphic memoir, and while I’d definitely recommend it to readers who enjoyed the first one, I think it stands well on its own. I really enjoyed it, and I’m sure that the intended audience will love it even more.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lily Williams

    Real Friends is one of my all-time favorite books and when I picked up my copy of Best Friends, I knew it would be like returning into something sweet, painfully honest, and a reflection of how I felt so much of the time at the same age. Yet, it exceeded all of my hopes and dreams. If I could, I would give it 10 stars. This book shattered my heart and remade it, all while digging up and honoring so many feelings I had buried long ago. Thank you to Hale and Pham for creating yet another masterpie Real Friends is one of my all-time favorite books and when I picked up my copy of Best Friends, I knew it would be like returning into something sweet, painfully honest, and a reflection of how I felt so much of the time at the same age. Yet, it exceeded all of my hopes and dreams. If I could, I would give it 10 stars. This book shattered my heart and remade it, all while digging up and honoring so many feelings I had buried long ago. Thank you to Hale and Pham for creating yet another masterpiece.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    I try to read most of the books my daughter's are reading so I can talk to them about them. When my daughter finished this one, she said, "mom you should read this, you will really like it." And she was right. It's such a good book for young preteen girls to read. It's a great way to open up a dialogue with our girls about friends and being true to ourselves. My daughter is getting very close to this age. The age of mean girls and clicks and popular girls. Hopefully books like this will help her I try to read most of the books my daughter's are reading so I can talk to them about them. When my daughter finished this one, she said, "mom you should read this, you will really like it." And she was right. It's such a good book for young preteen girls to read. It's a great way to open up a dialogue with our girls about friends and being true to ourselves. My daughter is getting very close to this age. The age of mean girls and clicks and popular girls. Hopefully books like this will help her navigate her way through the roller coaster of adolescents.

  25. 5 out of 5

    vanessa

    Really great! I wasn't blown away by the first book, Real Friends, which dealt with how Shannon saw friendships change through her childhood. Best Friends was much more about internal struggles and gets to the complicated feelings late elementary and early middle school children feel. I could easily draw parallels to my own childhood experiences of friendship, budding romances and non-romances, anxiety, and gender roles/expectations. It felt really genuine and honest and I really enjoyed the end Really great! I wasn't blown away by the first book, Real Friends, which dealt with how Shannon saw friendships change through her childhood. Best Friends was much more about internal struggles and gets to the complicated feelings late elementary and early middle school children feel. I could easily draw parallels to my own childhood experiences of friendship, budding romances and non-romances, anxiety, and gender roles/expectations. It felt really genuine and honest and I really enjoyed the ending.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Riveting and real. Several times I had to put the book down and just stare and yet I read it all in one sitting. I seldom buy paper books (I move often) but after reading Best Friends, I knew I'd want this one for my son's bookshelf. It's a fantastic exploration of what it means to be caught halfway through childhood and growing up while the rules always change and friendship is a rollercoaster and all of the sudden I'm supposed to care about boys for some reason?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    This was the perfect distraction from my children post full moon. It so perfectly showcases the messiness of being a pre-teen and the simple power of a well-executed graphic novel. The parts about anxiety, in particular, were incredibly well done. Shannon as both an author and a main character have a lot of heart and I’m grateful for this story.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    Shannon Hale picks up her memoir from where she left off in Real Friends. This portion begins as she enters sixth grade, and tries to maneuver her way through the labyrinth of middle school. She experiences the roller coaster ride of making new friends, and keeping her dream alive of becoming a writer all while trying her hand at being popular.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    I wish I had a book like this in 6th grade. The evolution of friendships and relationships at this age is so stressful for kids. It’s hard to navigate socially acceptable norms and yet be your own person. It’s good to hear someone say they had anxiety in school. I felt a lot of what Shannon felt in school. A good story with a good ending.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    Enjoyed the literary side story and the strong emphasis on creativity. A lot of the drama (and time skips) felt choppy, with the former seeming a bit familiar, but overall I’m sure this graphic novel will resonate with its target audience.

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