Real Friends By Shannon Hale, Illustrated By LeUyen Pham
Published 2 May 2017 by First Second
Summary: When best friends are not forever . . .
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 Timesbestselling 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.
This hit home so hard.
I had a similar childhood. I had difficulties making friends, then I moved and thought I had a great group of friends before that turned out to be a sham. They were mean, nasty little girls and when I moved up to secondary school I thought I’d make better friends. Wrong. I didn’t.
I understood where Shannon was coming from. There is nothing spectacular about the plot — it wasn’t moving or gripping but it is important. It’s important because we need to talk about this more. We need to talk about bullying, about loneliness, OCD and our own battles with ourselves. This book isn’t riveting but it delves into some extremely real and relatable problems. Real Friends provides us with an outlook of something that everyone of us has experienced before: loneliness, struggling to fit in, fake friends, and the desperate search for true friendship. It talks about sibling rivalry, sibling bullying and even touches on the importance of asking for permission before doing something like kissing someone.
I read the acknowledgement that the author had written at the end of the book. One where she felt the need to have her main character (also named Shannon) to have the ability to say “no” to her bully instead of easily forgiving. She wanted to instil the idea that it was okay for us to say no and create boundaries between us and the bullies or the people who hurt us. I think this is important — because so often we’re told to live and let live, to forgive and forget, but they don’t tell us what to do when it gets hard and difficult to do that.
I want this book to be read by everyone, of every age group because of this importance. It is important to be able to make your own choices, to have the ability to say no when it is uncomfortable for you and not to give in because of what others will say about you. It is important that we keep talking about this, that we keep sharing our stories and continue to help keep each other afloat.
Read this. Please.
This is going straight into my favourites pile.