All My Friends
All My Friends concludes Hope Larson’s 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. That’s an important thing to reinforce.
(The publisher provided a review copy. Review originally posted at Good Comics for Kids.)