Best Friends GN
Publisher: First Second Books
Release Date: August 28, 2019
Price: $12.99 (TP) / $21.99 (HC)
Creator: Shannon Hale (writer); LeUyen Pham (artist)
Format: 256 pgs., Full-Color, 5.6"x8", Trade Paperback/Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-2503-1746-9 (TP) / 978-1-2503-1745-2 (HC)
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

With this book, the team of Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham have solidly offered some real competition to the Reina Telgemeier juggernaut of true-ish stories for readers of about 6th-grade age.  This story is about the daily life of a girl in 6th grade, and about all of the questions of life that become part OF that daily life.  In this case, they range from standard things like "what constitutes normal behavior, or at least behavior that won’t get you ostracized?" to more serious things like "is it okay to not like something that your friends like?"

There are also the questions not answered, about the things that friends might or might not do to or for each other, for various reasons.  This is normal, too, but in this story they can be very interesting.  The sequence in which choices in what classes to sign up for could affect your social status and friendships… that is something that kids need to learn about, in order to make decisions.  Do you become who you want to be, or who your friends want you to be?

While the previous volume, Real Friends, was very good, artist LeUyen Pham got to show off some extra things, including a different art style for the fantasy story sequences.  The ways in which Shannon Hale wrote her real-life experiences into her fantasy story were a real treat, too.  Those parts teach a lot about creativity, among other things.

This is one of those books that needs to be in every library collection, and in the hands of both kids and adults.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.