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Friends Forever

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Following up their mega-bestselling Real Friends and Best Friends graphic memoirs, Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham are back with Friends Forever, a story about learning to love yourself exactly as you are. Shannon is in eighth grade, and life is more complicated than ever. Everything keeps changing, her classmates are starting to date each other (but nobody wants to date her!) Following up their mega-bestselling Real Friends and Best Friends graphic memoirs, Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham are back with Friends Forever, a story about learning to love yourself exactly as you are. Shannon is in eighth grade, and life is more complicated than ever. Everything keeps changing, her classmates are starting to date each other (but nobody wants to date her!), and no matter how hard she tries, Shannon can never seem to just be happy. As she works through her insecurities and undiagnosed depression, she worries about disappointing all the people who care about her. Is something wrong with her? Can she be the person everyone expects her to be? And who does she actually want to be? With their signature humor, warmth, and insight, Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham have crafted another incredible love letter to their younger selves and to readers everywhere, a reminder to us all that we are enough.


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Following up their mega-bestselling Real Friends and Best Friends graphic memoirs, Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham are back with Friends Forever, a story about learning to love yourself exactly as you are. Shannon is in eighth grade, and life is more complicated than ever. Everything keeps changing, her classmates are starting to date each other (but nobody wants to date her!) Following up their mega-bestselling Real Friends and Best Friends graphic memoirs, Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham are back with Friends Forever, a story about learning to love yourself exactly as you are. Shannon is in eighth grade, and life is more complicated than ever. Everything keeps changing, her classmates are starting to date each other (but nobody wants to date her!), and no matter how hard she tries, Shannon can never seem to just be happy. As she works through her insecurities and undiagnosed depression, she worries about disappointing all the people who care about her. Is something wrong with her? Can she be the person everyone expects her to be? And who does she actually want to be? With their signature humor, warmth, and insight, Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham have crafted another incredible love letter to their younger selves and to readers everywhere, a reminder to us all that we are enough.

30 review for Friends Forever

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine from How Useful It Is

    A fantastic read, another installment with good humor and real life crisis. Excellent illustrations! I can imagine it’s hard to make individual faces, hair, body image and clothes for so many characters. Love the glimpse into the illustrations process at the end of the book! Love seeing the publicity team’s eighth grade photos! Thanks for sharing! I like how this book influenced my son in a good way. Shannon was a straight A’s student who strived to win and be the best student. She wanted to mak A fantastic read, another installment with good humor and real life crisis. Excellent illustrations! I can imagine it’s hard to make individual faces, hair, body image and clothes for so many characters. Love the glimpse into the illustrations process at the end of the book! Love seeing the publicity team’s eighth grade photos! Thanks for sharing! I like how this book influenced my son in a good way. Shannon was a straight A’s student who strived to win and be the best student. She wanted to make her parents proud but at the same time she wanted to do something and be somebody instead of thinking herself as a homemaker, a job most men think women should settle. This book followed Shannon starting eighth grade. In seventh grade she made some friends, boys and girls so she continued the friendship in eighth grade. Even though she has friends, she still felt like she’s not good enough. She wanted to be beautiful, famous, successful, liked by boys, etc. She begged her mom to take her to a salon for a new hairstyle just to feel beautiful as her friends. Her friends all coupled up with boys except her. She worried if something was wrong with her when she had no boyfriend while her friends had many. She had a lot of emotions and constantly worrying that she’s not good enough. This worry spiraling downhill and made her depressed. Eventually she figured out a way to feel better and out of the depression hole. Friends Forever was very well written and illustrated. It brought back a lot of memories for me. I felt exactly like Shannon with the boyfriend situation and the not beautiful. I do love those notes I passed back and forth with my friends too. There’s a book I read on this topic called Folded Notes from High School. This friends series is an awesome idea. A must read for kids everywhere. I liked how Shannon reached out to make friends and in the drama team despite how she usually doesn’t like the spotlight. An example is her runny nose in math class. She avoided at all costs to get up in front of the class to get a tissue off a teacher’s desk but she able to perform on stage. I like the issues of feeling not good enough vs feeling just enough. Reminding kids to love themselves and who they are is so important and I’m glad my son got the teaching from reading this book! I highly recommend everyone to read this series! xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details Many thanks to MacKidsBooks for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    The combination of Shannon's honesty and LeUyen's phenomenal illustrations makes for a very powerful book. Thirteen is a tough age, and add an undiagnosed anxiety disorder to that . . . woof. This book made me want to cry, both for Little Shannon, and for Little Jessica, who used to (and sometimes still does) feel like this. Her description of having big emotions and wanting to hide them because she was sure that people would make fun her for having them, that especially was something I think mo The combination of Shannon's honesty and LeUyen's phenomenal illustrations makes for a very powerful book. Thirteen is a tough age, and add an undiagnosed anxiety disorder to that . . . woof. This book made me want to cry, both for Little Shannon, and for Little Jessica, who used to (and sometimes still does) feel like this. Her description of having big emotions and wanting to hide them because she was sure that people would make fun her for having them, that especially was something I think most teens can relate to, and many adults.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    Young Shannon is starting her 8th grade year, certain she will have more confidence than she did in 7th grade and in her first year of Middle School. As we all know, hopes do not always translate into reality. I love the panels LeUyen Pham uses to illustrate Shannon's daydreams. They have a fairy tale quality and are clearly in contrast with real life -- which can sometimes be a disappointment in comparison. The notes she and her friend passed back and forth are reproductions of actual notes sav Young Shannon is starting her 8th grade year, certain she will have more confidence than she did in 7th grade and in her first year of Middle School. As we all know, hopes do not always translate into reality. I love the panels LeUyen Pham uses to illustrate Shannon's daydreams. They have a fairy tale quality and are clearly in contrast with real life -- which can sometimes be a disappointment in comparison. The notes she and her friend passed back and forth are reproductions of actual notes saved from middle school and without fail include a reminder to W/B (write back). Shannon honestly shares her struggles to be all that she wants to be. Her faith life sometimes makes it harder, yet her church life is also a source of hope. After all, it is her Creator who made her to be of such great value. I know young readers will be able to relate to Shannon's inner struggles even though they were in a different time. The author's note at the end is an extra reinforcement for readers who need hope in the midst of their teen years. I wish I had been able to read this book when I was her age. A big thank you to First Second books and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Very much in keeping with the other two books in the series. Readers who like graphic novels with lots of anxiety and trauma will definitely gobble up this autobiographical tale of Hale's experiences in 8th grade. There are helpful end notes about dealing with a variety of mental health issues. E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Very much in keeping with the other two books in the series. Readers who like graphic novels with lots of anxiety and trauma will definitely gobble up this autobiographical tale of Hale's experiences in 8th grade. There are helpful end notes about dealing with a variety of mental health issues.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    This Graphic Novel Series for Middle Grade is fantastic. My daughter is 3... and I already want to own a copy for her to read when she is around this age group. So real and relatable to that time in my life. Love the artwork also!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    I really love this series! Young Shannon is so relatable and is a great role model for kids. Popsugar Challenge 2021 - A book you think your best friend would like (2 of my daughters devoured it in hours)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Potterhead Aanya

    This was one of the best comics I have ever read! As a huge fan of Shannon Hale's book I was elated when my request was approved on NetGalley, this book follows Shannon through her 8th grade as she faces ups and downs and tries to sort a huge mess called life. A humorous, relatable and inspiring read!! Thank you Netgalley and First Second books for a copy :D This was one of the best comics I have ever read! As a huge fan of Shannon Hale's book I was elated when my request was approved on NetGalley, this book follows Shannon through her 8th grade as she faces ups and downs and tries to sort a huge mess called life. A humorous, relatable and inspiring read!! Thank you Netgalley and First Second books for a copy :D

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Gray

    This was fantastically done. I related to the main character, Shannon, in so many ways I could have been her in middle school and beyond. Dealing with undiagnosed anxiety and depression is frightening and confusing. I wish I had had a book like this to read when Middle School changes hit.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

    I was only able to download 16 pages from NetGalley, but this looks like it will be just as good as all of Shannon Hale's other books. Shannon is becoming increasingly obsessed with how she looks. She wants to be as beautiful as her friend. They discuss school pictures, and Shannon gets contacts. #NetGalley I was only able to download 16 pages from NetGalley, but this looks like it will be just as good as all of Shannon Hale's other books. Shannon is becoming increasingly obsessed with how she looks. She wants to be as beautiful as her friend. They discuss school pictures, and Shannon gets contacts. #NetGalley

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    Every 12, 13 and 14 year-old girl should read this perfect graphic novel/memoir. And, every adult woman should read it, too, to remember exactly how painfully awkward we were in 8th grade. All of the stupid, insensitive, self-absorbed things I might've said to people, not getting a part in the school play, running for class president, my goofiest looking school picture EVER (I would attach a photo to this review, if I could. Wait. Maybe not.) and finally being old enough for contact lenses (afte Every 12, 13 and 14 year-old girl should read this perfect graphic novel/memoir. And, every adult woman should read it, too, to remember exactly how painfully awkward we were in 8th grade. All of the stupid, insensitive, self-absorbed things I might've said to people, not getting a part in the school play, running for class president, my goofiest looking school picture EVER (I would attach a photo to this review, if I could. Wait. Maybe not.) and finally being old enough for contact lenses (after picture day) . . . it's all here. Shannon's story is painfully personal and universal at the same time. She tells a brave and important story about the mixed messages girls get at the most confusing time in their lives and how we put on a happy face because we're too scared not to. "Am I good enough? Am I too smart? Does that boy think I'm cute? Yikes! That boy thinks I'm cute." This should be required reading for everyone--girls, boys, women and men. The back matter adds important information, too, about getting help when we need it and being honest about how we feel, even when we just feel bad. Thanks, Shannon and LeUyen. You two are so cute together--I hope you're best friends 4ever! H.A.G.S. Kirsten

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Hale and Pham are creating an incredible series about what it's like to grow up middle-class and female in the United States. This volume sees Shannon in eighth grade. She has many friends, but she struggles with self-image and with sexism within her family and community. I've never seen such an accurate depiction of intrusive thoughts. By trying to stop being "so sensitive," she temporarily shuts down all her feelings and ends up a ball of rage and despair. In addition to these serious issues, Hale and Pham are creating an incredible series about what it's like to grow up middle-class and female in the United States. This volume sees Shannon in eighth grade. She has many friends, but she struggles with self-image and with sexism within her family and community. I've never seen such an accurate depiction of intrusive thoughts. By trying to stop being "so sensitive," she temporarily shuts down all her feelings and ends up a ball of rage and despair. In addition to these serious issues, there are smaller-scale, slice-of-life issues with friendships. There's a boy who claims to be in love with another girl but hangs around Shannon all the time and writes notes to her (Shannon) constantly. I thought he might eventually realize how great she is . . . but then she points out that he repeatedly misspells her name. Yup, not gonna happen. Though I hold out hope for Volume 4! He's not a disaster, he's just tactless!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This is the third in the series of Shannon's memoir graphic novels about her teenage hood, and she is even more anxious than ever. Shannon feels she has to please everyone, get perfect grades, and do what everyone wants. But she doesn't get to do the things she wants to do. She doesn't want to rebel, but something is going to crack. Written with the help of her journal at the time, as well as notes she kept from her friends for 30 years, she gives a very complete story of the hell that is middle This is the third in the series of Shannon's memoir graphic novels about her teenage hood, and she is even more anxious than ever. Shannon feels she has to please everyone, get perfect grades, and do what everyone wants. But she doesn't get to do the things she wants to do. She doesn't want to rebel, but something is going to crack. Written with the help of her journal at the time, as well as notes she kept from her friends for 30 years, she gives a very complete story of the hell that is middle school, with the rivalries, and cute girls and mean girls. The whole nine yards. I didn't enjoy it quite so much as the first to books, as she was ruminating on her feelings a whole lot more, but that isn't to say the book was bad. It had some very good parts, as well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michele Knott

    Wow. I just took a trip back to eighth grade in 1987-88 and it's not pretty. Shannon Hale captures how hard middle school can be when you're still trying to figure out so much - who you are, what life is, and how everything fits together. Wow. I just took a trip back to eighth grade in 1987-88 and it's not pretty. Shannon Hale captures how hard middle school can be when you're still trying to figure out so much - who you are, what life is, and how everything fits together.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Danae Zuniga

    Yes, I finished all three books in this series in less than 24 hours. I am glad I read them before giving them to my girls. My girls may need to be a little older for some of the topics in this one (Jr High age). Then again, maybe not. I have until Christmas to decide. I really enjoyed the story told through these books and how friends are important, but it is most important to love yourself. When you love yourself all your interactions come a lot smoother.

  15. 4 out of 5

    The Keepers of the Books

    This chapter preview gave a great premise for setting up book three in Shannon Hale's graphic novel biography. This series has been incredibly popular with my students because Shannon is such a relatable character. The idiosyncrasies of middle school make a perfect premise for kids to realize that they aren't the only one who feels like they aren't perfect and they don't quite belong. Shannon brings real life to the characters and helps others to realize that others are just like them. Grades: 4 This chapter preview gave a great premise for setting up book three in Shannon Hale's graphic novel biography. This series has been incredibly popular with my students because Shannon is such a relatable character. The idiosyncrasies of middle school make a perfect premise for kids to realize that they aren't the only one who feels like they aren't perfect and they don't quite belong. Shannon brings real life to the characters and helps others to realize that others are just like them. Grades: 4-8 Please Note: A copy of this book was given to us by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.. All opinions expressed are our own. No financial compensation was received.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tessa

    This series remains one of the few graphic novels I really enjoy, but this is the weakest of the three.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eileen

    5 stars Another winner by Shannon Hale and her illustrator best friend LeUyen Pham! This is the third book in the Real Friends series and it chronicles Shannon's 8th-grade year. I loved the humor, illustrations, and tackling of real and serious issues. In 7th grade, she learned that it was perhaps not always good to stick with one group of "best" friends and she learned to expand her friend group to be more inclusive. She begins 8th grade with a lot more optimism, knowing that she has many friend 5 stars Another winner by Shannon Hale and her illustrator best friend LeUyen Pham! This is the third book in the Real Friends series and it chronicles Shannon's 8th-grade year. I loved the humor, illustrations, and tackling of real and serious issues. In 7th grade, she learned that it was perhaps not always good to stick with one group of "best" friends and she learned to expand her friend group to be more inclusive. She begins 8th grade with a lot more optimism, knowing that she has many friends. But she has always been a straight-A student and tries to be a good person, kind and caring to others. I remember 8th grade as being the year when more kids started to be interested in the opposite sex, but I felt a lot like Shannon. I liked guys, but I wasn't really interested in dating them. Here she struggles with feeling out of place, not good enough, loved by her parents only because of her good grades, and feeling like her hopes and dreams for her adult life are not appropriate. She tackles the many mixed messages that kids receive from their parents, teachers, friends, and even random strangers (like the Santa in the mall). And just like in the previous books, she talks about her mental health (in this case she tackles depression and anxiety) and how she wishes her younger self could have been told different messages and had a better fit with a therapist. She did eventually find her way out of the hole she was in, and this book is written for all those girls who need to hear those messages. As I said, I loved the illustrations and I loved the behind-the-scenes stuff at the end, including a letter she writes to us the reader. This story brought back a lot of memories for me, and I remember feeling some of the things she did. I was an emotional read for me, but really good. I highly recommend these three books for anyone, but especially for middle school girls who may need to see themselves in this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Shannon Hale’s Real Friends series is such a gift to any preteen or middle school girl. I don’t know how she does it (maybe it is from all the notes and journals she has saved), but she truly remembers what it is like be a middle school girl: thoughts, feelings, insecurities, trials, failures, and glimmers of hope. In this book, because Shannon is older, her problems are older. So I probably wouldn’t put this in the hands of a 3rd grader, although earlier Real Friends graphic novels could be a p Shannon Hale’s Real Friends series is such a gift to any preteen or middle school girl. I don’t know how she does it (maybe it is from all the notes and journals she has saved), but she truly remembers what it is like be a middle school girl: thoughts, feelings, insecurities, trials, failures, and glimmers of hope. In this book, because Shannon is older, her problems are older. So I probably wouldn’t put this in the hands of a 3rd grader, although earlier Real Friends graphic novels could be a perfect fit. I think I would have found this series to be so helpful when I was in 5th-8th grade. Shannon helps readers to know they are not alone in their feelings.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I just adore this series about Shannon Hale's middle school years! I relate to her on so many levels and wish I had had these books when I was in middle school. Although, who knows if I would have been able to see myself more clearly either way. Any kid that is experiencing big emotions, and is not quite sure how to handle them should check out this one. I just adore this series about Shannon Hale's middle school years! I relate to her on so many levels and wish I had had these books when I was in middle school. Although, who knows if I would have been able to see myself more clearly either way. Any kid that is experiencing big emotions, and is not quite sure how to handle them should check out this one.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Luna Alicea

    This is a very good graphic novels for all ages. I really like how the author describe anxiety and depression in such a simple way. Shannon definitely knows how to make you feel nostalgia just using a few words. Not to mention the incredible art style that made me buy all three volumes at once. Everyone should read it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    While some of the "historical" aspects might not be as interesting to tweens, it might be a bit eye opening to them as well. Some of the drawings felt a bit off in terms of facial features but I wonder if that was purposeful to show Shannon's self-image? While some of the "historical" aspects might not be as interesting to tweens, it might be a bit eye opening to them as well. Some of the drawings felt a bit off in terms of facial features but I wonder if that was purposeful to show Shannon's self-image?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    An excellent graphic novel memoir that explores mental health, the stress and pressure put on middle school girls (both then - 1980s - and unfortunately still relevant today), and the ups and downs of middle school life. You don't need to have read the other books in the series. Loved it. An excellent graphic novel memoir that explores mental health, the stress and pressure put on middle school girls (both then - 1980s - and unfortunately still relevant today), and the ups and downs of middle school life. You don't need to have read the other books in the series. Loved it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I will be in my middle school feelings for the next 7-10 business days.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cathy | A Case Full of Books

    I think it's important to note that this book is meant for a more mature audience than the first two. While books one and two are set in elementary school, this one takes place in junior high and deals with more mature subjects, like dating, kissing, and even touches lightly on sexual assault. I think it's important to note that this book is meant for a more mature audience than the first two. While books one and two are set in elementary school, this one takes place in junior high and deals with more mature subjects, like dating, kissing, and even touches lightly on sexual assault.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Peoria Public Library

    Spencer rated it 3 stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Spencer

    I liked this one more than the first two, but still just found it fine. Her parents suck, though.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Jean Lareau

    Oof. Junior high was the worst.

  28. 4 out of 5

    EvilPigQueen26

    Okay so yes this is such a simple book series and its all kinds the same plot over and over but I like it and it's a "not too much thinking" read. Okay so yes this is such a simple book series and its all kinds the same plot over and over but I like it and it's a "not too much thinking" read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    Painful but tells truths that many a 13-year-old needs to hear—you are enough as you are. The end notes are a must.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hattie Amato

    i cried. 4 stars

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