All My Friends | Review
All My Friends
by Hope Larson
Farrar Straus Giroux, $21.99 (hardcover), $12.99 (paperback)
All My Friends concludes the Eagle Rock trilogy that began in All Summer Long and continued in All Together Now. Bina has formed a band with two new friends, and they’re about to play a show as an opening act. It leads to a big break, but the question of how to handle “being discovered” sensibly is a difficult one for a 14-year-old and her parents.
Also, she and former best friend Austin are still figuring things out. As her music becomes better known, she discovers the perils of fame, from being overwhelmed by fans to being talked down to by boys jealous of her achievements.
The girls decide to try doing it themselves, which requires hard work and fundraising to make an album. While amazing things happen to Bina with her music, plenty of sensible decisions are made as well. Sometimes gigs will not go perfectly. Sometimes parents will say no. Sometimes achievement requires hard work.
In keeping with the band name “Fancy Pink,” the book is monochrome, using pink from light, pale shades to deep, solid color. It pops brilliantly against black, creating a timeless tough-girl aesthetic. The rough-edged, simple figures also fit into the do-it-yourself take on art.
This series is fantastic for taking creative pursuits seriously. While there is dating, instead of focusing on “Which boy will she end up with?” the driving question is “Will she succeed at making her music?” which is refreshing and challenging. When Bina tells her friend, “I wanna date someone who likes who I am now,” that’s a cheer-worthy moment.
All My Friends is also an empathetic portrait of how young teens start trying to define themselves as independent people who may have different opinions and choices from their family members.
Johanna Draper Carlson has been reviewing comics for over 20 years. She manages ComicsWorthReading.com, the longest-running independent review site online that covers all genres of comic books, graphic novels, and manga. She has an MA in popular culture, studying online fandom, and was previously, among many other things, webmaster for DC Comics. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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