First Second will publish Friends Forever, the third book in the Real Friends graphic memoir trilogy by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham, in August 2021, and has announced a first printing of one million copies. It might however suggest that the kids who Dav Pilkey and Raina Telgemeir sold millions to are growing up – and looking for their next comic books. The first two books were aimed at a middle-grade audience, the new book skews up a couple of years.
Real Friends was published in 2017, and Best Friends in 2019 – both were bestsellers. But Friends Forever is a step up when it comes to print runs, when it comes out later this year. Just in time for my to buy this for my thirteen-year-old as a box set. I'm sure there will be a box set. They always do box sets for these things. Hey, First Second, will there be a box set?
First Second Senior Editor Connie Hsu told Publisher's Weekly "I am interested in seeing how Friends Forever will be received, especially in its depiction of depression in the life of a child where there is nothing obviously wrong. I think that's where the communication often breaks down between children and adults, when it's easy to say 'You shouldn't feel this way. I deny your emotions because there's no reason to feel this way. Just be happy.' "
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.