Wow, I’m really slacking today. I was planning to have this review all typed up and ready to go for today, but, alas, here it is not ready to go. And now it’s so late in the day, well, later than I usually strive for anyway. I blame it on not getting enough sleep last night. I don’t know why, but I’ve been sleeping horribly lately.
But, that doesn’t matter right now, because I get to talk about books. And, talking about books is always lovely – exhausted or not.
This is a story about Maggie. She’s about to start high school. This is a big deal for anyone, but it’s even more so for her since she’s been homeschooled all her life. Maggie’s three older brothers are already in high school and look out for her while still encouraging her to be independent. Maggie struggles, having no friends besides her brothers, who all seem to have other friends at school. She meets a girl named Lucy and starts eating lunch with her and her brother, Alistair. Her problems start to get tougher when she potentially finds out why a ghost has been haunting her since she was a young girl. What secrets will she discover about her brothers, her new friends, and her ghost, as well as within herself?
*click image to be redirected to book’s Goodreads page*
I really enjoyed this graphic novel: however, I had quite a few issues with it that caused me to hold back the 5-star rating.
Hicks weaves a compelling story that will surely suck you in and have you questioning what could possibly happen next. That was great. I loved the realistic yet semi-mysterious and eerie world she created. This being said, I felt the plot was what caused this book to be so lacking. There were so many things left open-ended – way too many for this to be considered to be written for that purpose. This would all be fine if I was expecting to read a sequel, but, as far as I know, no sequel is in the works. (Am I wrong?)
The thing I found most irritating was that past events were not thoroughly explained. This isn’t necessary for all stories, but it was necessary for this story. Maggie’s mom has left her dad and the children. Very little explanation is given about this, and I would have liked to know more, feeling like it would have helped me understand the situation, characters, and story even better. There was some vital information left out.
I also felt this way about Alistair’s past. Maggie’s oldest brother tells her not to get mixed up with Lucy and especially not with Alistair, that he’s a bad person. But, when it all came down to it and everything (almost everything) was explained, I found the whole situation anticlimactic and disappointing. I completely understand the point that Hicks was trying to make and applaud her for the morals this story is trying to teach, but that still doesn’t make up for lack of well-planned execution.
One final thing that I both liked and disliked about the plot was the ghost. On one hand, I thought it was a super unique and interesting aspect to add to the story; on the other hand, like the reveal of Alistair’s past, I thought it was horribly underwritten and underdeveloped. I felt exceptionally unfulfilled by the ghost story within this story. I understand Hicks was trying to make the situation ominous and unresolved on purpose, but it was left too open for my tastes (and I really like open-ended elements).
Moving on to a happier topic, I had zero issues with the characters and their development. Everything that I’ve been complaining about has come solely from lack of plot development, so I have no problem saying that the character development was spot on. I loved everyone’s unique personalities and thought they were both exceptionally well-written and well-drawn. The characters were what really moved the story along for me and drew me in.
Speaking of well-drawn, the last thing I’ll say is that I loved the artwork. It was wonderful and, as any good graphic novel should do, really helped the story come to life. I adored everything about Hick’s illustrations. Her stills are fabulous.
I know I did a significant amount of complaining, but this novel had so many wonderful things about it to counteract the elements that didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I still highly recommend this graphic novels, especially for readers who like realistic YA with paranormal elements. It’s an easy story to get lost in and one that will keep you on your toes while flipping page after page.
Get your copy from Book Depository here for $13.37.
Up Tomorrow: Review of The Knife of Never Letting Go
Did you like Friends With Boys? Thoughts? Opinions?