Real Friends   

Real Friends Series

By Shannon Hale   

ISBN: 9781626724167

Author Website: squeetus(.)com

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra                   


Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen’s #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying others.

Now every day is like a roller coaster for Shannon. Will she and Adrienne stay friends? Can she stand up for herself? And is she in The Group—or out?

Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale and New York Times bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham join forces in this graphic memoir about how hard it is to find your real friends—and why it’s worth the journey.  (Goodreads)


Real Friends is the first graphic novel in the Real Friends series by Shannon Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. I am torn about this title, especially as a learning read for the middle school young girl. I found it both entertaining and disturbing – for very different reasons.

The overall message that not everyone is your friend and that in due time, you will find your group where you fit in and can form true, lasting friendships is good – I found the treatment of Shannon both by a bully named Jen and her sister (her sister no less!!) abhorrent. Why was there not any adult intervention?

I was quite uncomfortable with Shannon getting hit by her sister with no adult reprisal from the parents – my oh my:

When I took the story at face value – that it was to help teach young readers that we do not always need to be liked by everyone – I found the story good. The tenacity of Shannon to try and fit in with Jen’s crowd was a good lesson – do not give up for what you want. 

I also found the graphics very good. It showed a lot of depth and I loved the coloring, especially when differentiating between what happened and what Shannon was thinking.

With the violence by the sister being tolerated with no repercussions from the adults in their lives and the fact that the messaging could have been tempered a bit, I am sad to say that I would not read this title to my youngster.