Best Friends 1
by Hale, Shannon; Pham, Leuyen (ART); Sycamore, Hilary (ILT)






A follow-up to Real Friends finds Shannon embarking on a promising sixth grade year before the constantly changing rules of her best friend's in-crowd make her question whether popularity is worth the trouble. Simultaneous. Illustrations.





Shannon Hale is the bestselling author of many books, including Real Friends, the Ever After High series, and Princess Academy. With her husband Dean Hale she co-wrote Rapunzel's Revenge, Calamity Jack, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series, and The Princess in Black series. They live with their four children near Salt Lake City, Utah.

LeUyen Pham is the bestselling illustrator of Real Friends and The Princess in Black series. She wrote and illustrated Big Sister, Little Sister and The Bear Who Wasn't There. She has illustrated many other picture books, including The Boy Who Loved Math. She lives and works in Los Angeles with her husband and her two adorable sons.





After traveling the rocky road of elementary school friendship in Real Friends (2017), Hale returns with another graphic memoir delving even deeper into preteen tribulations. Now in sixth grade, young Shannon is a member of "the Group," an assortment of popular and pretty girls that most notably includes best friend and group ringleader Jen and unrelenting mean-girl Jenny. However, infighting and treachery proliferate, leaving Shannon feeling frequently off balance as she strives to fit in and suppresses things she enjoys. She captures the dynamic brilliantly: "Sixth grade friendships were like a game... / only as soon as I'd figure out the rules... / they'd change again." In addition to laying bare the back-stabbing and cattiness, Hale also examines her struggles with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tendencies with openness and honesty. Shannon's story is ultimately empowering, showing the satisfaction she feels following her own path. Hale and illustrator Pham (working with colorist Sycamore) capture the nuances of a typical middle school life, balancing Shannon's public woes with her inner conflicts and adding a fun dose of 1980s nostalgia. Ph am's art is evocative in its simplicity; detailed facial expressions add emotional depth and accessibility for even the most reluctant readers. An author's note talks earnestly and age-appropriately about anxiety. Consider this a must-read for fans of Raina Telegmeier or Victoria Jamieson. Hale and her friends are predominately white, although students of color are present throughout. This glimpse into middle school is insightful, introspective, and important. (Graphic memoir. 7-12) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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