Thursday, July 13, 2017

Real Friends

Real Friends. Shannon Hale. 2017. 214 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: When I was little, I didn't worry about friends. After all, I had Mom.

Premise/plot: Shannon Hale has written a memoir of her early school years in graphic novel format; the novel covers kindergarten through fifth grade. It is illustrated by LeUyen Pham. The graphic-novel-memoir opens in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the fall of 1979. Throughout the book, readers see Little Shannon struggle at school and at home. At home, Shannon doesn't always, always, always get along with her sister, Wendy. (I believe Shannon's name is the only one that was not changed?) At school, Shannon struggles with distinguishing real friends from dare I say it here-today-gone-tomorrow friends. (You know friends that laugh with you one minute, and another minute are laughing at you. Or, you know friends that talk about you behind your back. Friends that leave you questioning where you stand with them. Is this a day they'll like you or hate you?!?!)

One thing that I loved throughout the book was Shannon's creativity and individuality. I loved seeing her imagination at work. I loved that she was never bored, but, was always inventing something new and wonderful to play. I also loved that storytelling was always involved whether it was acting out a story with friends or writing down a story. I also love that Hale didn't create a perfectly-perfectly-perfect heroine. Little Shannon struggles with anxiety and some OCD tendencies.

The novel covers the joys and sorrows of growing up. There are plenty of good and happy times depicted. But there are also other emotions as well. The book feels genuine, authentic, easy to relate to.

My thoughts: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one. Shannon Hale is a great writer, I think this may be my favorite so far. (She has written plenty of fantasy novels for various age groups.) I love LeUyen Pham. She is one of my favorite illustrators. I adore her work. Though graphic novels aren't usually something I gush like crazy about, I just have to say this one was wonderful. I would definitely recommend it!

I think it needs a NEWBERY.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
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  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
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I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
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  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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