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YALSA Hub Challenge: If You Liked Friends with Boys…

Last time we discussed the many charms of Faith Erin Hicks’s Friends with Boys, recognized this year as one of the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten for 2013.  Readers who relish Hicks’s story of family, hauntings, and navigating a new school should turn to these recommendations for their next title.

Anya’s Ghost

by Vera Brosgol

Why? The ghostly presence in Anya’s Ghost is more of a key figure in Brosgol’s cautionary tale than the mute spirit of Friends with Boys.  Still, Brosgol is an equally talented storyteller, and her part spooky ghost story and part suspenseful thriller will work for Hicks’s fans.  Plus, Canadian cartoonists for the win! –Robin

  • Anya’s Ghost. 2011. 224 pp. 9781596435520.


by Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe

Starting a new school is always difficult. While this title doesn’t have any supernatural beings, it does have similar themes of making friends and starting fresh.  Sadie is starting in a new high school, and for some odd reasons he decides to reinvent herself by pretending she has a peanut allergy.  The pretend allergy generates sympathy for Sadie and she makes friends and even finds a boyfriend. But the lies piles on and Sadie finds it a challenge to keep it all straight, and slowly it begins to unravel. –Esther

  • Peanut. 2012. 216pp. 9780375865909

The War at Ellsmere

by Faith Erin Hicks

Why? Hicks’s earlier solo title shares a lot of the same concerns as Friends with Boys: being the new girl at school, struggling with cliques, a touch of the supernatural, and finding friends to last a lifetime.  Hicks’s style is just as accomplished, especially her eloquent expressions and humorously edited reaction shots. –Robin

  • The War at Ellsmere. 2008. 156 pp. 9781593621407.


by Hope Larson

Why? This is a story about summer friendships and changing relationships. Abby goes to summer camp and her old friends have changed and aren’t able to spend much time with her. Instead, she befriends the new girl, who says she was struck by lightning.  I mostly thought of this title because the tone of Friends With Boys reminded me of the tone of this title.  –Esther

  • Chiggers. 2008. 176 pp. 9781416935872.

Freshman: Tales of 9th Grade Obsessions, Revelations, and Other Nonsense

by Corinne Mucha

Why? Annie has been told by her older brother that freshman year will determine much of her later life, but she can’t seem to win.  All too soon, its just about getting through the day, never mind her glorious future. –Caleb

  • Freshman: Tales of 9th Grade Obsessions, Revelations, and Other Nonsense. 2011. 112 pp. 0981973361.


by Kazuhiro Okamoto

Why? I thought of this title because the deliberate and unhurried pace of the story reminds me of Friends With Boys.  Shizuka is a typical middle schooler who worries about friendships and doing well in school and the crush on a boy she likes, but she has an incurable disease that is slowly turning her invisible. –Esther

  • Translucent Volume 1. Aug 2007. 192 pp. 9781593076474.
  • Volume 2  9781593076771
  • Volume 3 9781593076795
  • Volume 4 9781595822185

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks

Why? Hicks’s new title with author Prudence Shen is just as full of the intricacies of friendship and family, but this title has a lighter theme involving scheming in class elections, fierce cheerleaders, and robot battles.  Who doesn’t like robot battles? –Robin

  • Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong. 2013. 288 pp. 9781596436596.

Honey and Clover

by Chica Umino

Why? This manga series is about the first year of college rather than the first year of high school, and has that added fish out of water experience of leaving home and floating somewhere between teen and adult.  Making a family of your friends, however, is a key message, and clinging to the little bonuses that cheer everyone up even when exams are looming or your unrequited crush shoots you down. –Robin

  • Honey and Clover Volume 1. 2008. 183 pp. 9781421515045.
  • Volume 2. 9781421515052.
  • Volume 3. 9781421515069.
  • Volume 4. 9781421515076.
  • Volume 5. 9781421523668.
  • Volume 6. 9781421523675.
  • Volume 7. 9781421523682.
  • Volume 8. 9781421523804.
  • Volume 9. 9781421523811.
  • Volume 10. 9781421523828.

Hopeless Savages: Greatest Hits

by Jen Van Meter and various artists

Why? Covering the lives and loves of the children of punk rock stars Dirk Hopeless and Nikki Savage, this charming omnibus edition zeroes in on different siblings with each story arc.  While the series starts with the kids banding together to find their kidnapped parents, the series continues as a sometimes raucus, sometimes tender portrait combining romance and family. –Robin

  • Hopeless Savages: Greatest Hits. 2010. 360 pp. 9781934964484.


by Jane Yolen

Why? Aliera is a similarly independent and occasionally awkward teen girl who’s struggling to navigate the choppy waters of a traditional high school.  She finds her niche in fencing, fantasy, and facing a sudden, real-world meeting with fairies and ogres. –Robin

  • Foiled. 2010. 160 pp. 9781596432796.
Robin Brenner About Robin Brenner

Robin Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. When not tackling programs and reading advice at work, she writes features and reviews for publications including VOYA, Early Word, Library Journal, and Knowledge Quest. She has served on various awards committees, from the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards to the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards. She is the editor-in-chief of the graphic novel review website No Flying No Tights.


  1. For once I’ve read all of the suggested titles. ^_^

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