Reviewed by Megan M on Jun 24, 2021
Biography and Autobiography
Comics and Graphic Novels
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Friendship can be difficult no matter how old you are, and Shannon knows this truth all too well. Her best friend since kindergarten, Adrienne, has joined the popular group at school and Shannon isn't quite sure how she fits with these new girls. She likes the leader, Jen, but all of the girls in the group constantly compete for Jen's attention. One girl in particular tells Jen lies about Shannon, which frequently causes problems and rifts. As the girls get older, and end up in different classes at school, Shannon finally leaves the group for some laid back, like-minded, older girls, which works out great and really expands Shannon's world. Now Shannon's the leader of the group, and she's got to decide what kind of leader she wants to be.
This is a very absorbing, lively memoir of the author's childhood, and it drives home the importance of perspective, which Hale discusses in the author's note. After I finished reading Real Friends, and thought about Hale's note, I thought it would be very interesting to hear about some of the events in the book from the point of view of Adrienne, Wendy, Jenny or the girl hiding in the bushes. We all experience life through a special lens, and it was a pleasure to experience this story told as only Shannon Hale could tell it (with the help of LeUyen Pham's art). Fans of Hale's many other books, such as the Princess Academy or Ever After High series, will enjoy this glimpse into the author's early life, but you don't have to have read any of Hale's books to appreciate Real Friends.
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