Synopsis from Macmillan Publishers:
Following up their mega-bestselling Real Friends and Best Friends graphic memoirs, Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham are back with Friends Forever, a story about learning to love yourself exactly as you are.
Shannon is in eighth grade, and life is more complicated than ever. Everything keeps changing, her classmates are starting to date each other (but nobody wants to date her!), and no matter how hard she tries, Shannon can never seem to just be happy.
As she works through her insecurities and undiagnosed depression, she worries about disappointing all the people who care about her. Is something wrong with her? Can she be the person everyone expects her to be? And who does she actually want to be?
With their signature humor, warmth, and insight, Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham have crafted another incredible love letter to their younger selves and to readers everywhere, a reminder to us all that we are enough.
About: Friends Forever is a middle grade graphic novel memoir written by Shannon Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. It will be published on 8/31/2021 by First Second, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers, paperback, 304 pages. The genres are middle grade nonfiction, graphic novel, and memoir. There are three books to this series: book 1 is Real Friends, book 2 is Best Friends, and book 3 is Friends Forever. This book is intended for readers ages 10 to 14. According to the publisher’s website, “First Second Books is a graphic novel publisher located in New York City. We publish graphic novels in every genre and for readers of all ages. Our graphic novels are available online, in libraries, in comic book shops, and wherever books are sold.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading Friends Forever on 8/24/2021 and finished it on 8/29/2021. My 9 year old also read it and finished it in 2 days. He’s ready to read it again. A fantastic read, another installment with good humor and real life crisis. Excellent illustrations! I can imagine it’s hard to make individual faces, hair, body image and clothes for so many characters. Love the glimpse into the illustrations process at the end of the book! Love seeing the publicity team’s eighth grade photos! Thanks for sharing! I like how this book influenced my son in a good way. Shannon was a straight A’s student who strived to win and be the best student. She wanted to make her parents proud but at the same time she wanted to do something and be somebody instead of thinking herself as a homemaker, a job most men think women should settle.
This book followed Shannon starting eighth grade. In seventh grade she made some friends, boys and girls so she continued the friendship in eighth grade. Even though she has friends, she still felt like she’s not good enough. She wanted to be beautiful, famous, successful, liked by boys, etc. She begged her mom to take her to a salon for a new hairstyle just to feel beautiful as her friends. Her friends all coupled up with boys except her. She worried if something was wrong with her when she had no boyfriend while her friends had many. She had a lot of emotions and constantly worrying that she’s not good enough. This worry spiraling downhill and made her depressed. Eventually she figured out a way to feel better and out of the depression hole.
Friends Forever was very well written and illustrated. It brought back a lot of memories for me. I felt exactly like Shannon with the boyfriend situation and the not beautiful. I do love those notes I passed back and forth with my friends too. There’s a book I read on this topic called Folded Notes from High School. This friends series is an awesome idea. A must read for kids everywhere. I liked how Shannon reached out to make friends and in the drama team despite how she usually doesn’t like the spotlight. An example is her runny nose in math class. She avoided at all costs to get up in front of the class to get a tissue off a teacher’s desk but she able to perform on stage. I like the issues of feeling not good enough vs feeling just enough. Reminding kids to love themselves and who they are is so important and I’m glad my son got the teaching from reading this book! I highly recommend everyone to read this series!
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author and Illustrator:
Shannon Hale is the New York Times bestselling author of over thirty books, including fantasy novels The Goose Girl and Book of a Thousand Days, science fiction novel Dangerous, Newbery Honor winner Princess Academy, graphic novel memoirs Real Friends and Best Friends (with LeUyen Pham), and romantic comedy Austenland (now a major motion picture starring Keri Russell). She lives in Utah with her husband and frequent collaborator Dean Hale, their four remarkable children, and two ridiculous cats named Misty Knight and Mike Hat. (Photo and info obtained from Macmillan’s website, Book pictures obtained from Edelweiss).
LeUyen Pham worked in animation before turning to children’s books. She wrote and illustrated Big Sister, Little Sister and The Bear Who Wasn’t There, and is the illustrator of numerous other picture books. Ms. Pham lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband. (Photo and info obtained from Macmillan’s website).
More Information about First Second Books
Website: https://us.macmillan.com/firstsecond/ or https://firstsecondbooks.com/about/ | Instagram: www.instagram.com/01firstsecond| Twitter: www.twitter.com/01firstsecond | Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/FirstSecondBooks
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to MacKidsBooks for the opportunity to read and review. Loved the book swags! Please be assured that my opinions are honest.