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Cover image for Making friends
Making friends

First edition.
New York, NY : Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic, 2018.
Physical Description:
261 pages : chiefly color illustrations ; 21 cm
Sixth grade was so much easier for Dany. All her friends were in the same room and she knew exactly what to expect out of life. Now that she's in seventh grade, she's in a new middle school, her friends are in different classes and forming new cliques, and she is totally, completely lost. What Dany really needs is a new best friend! So when she inherits a magic sketchbook from her eccentric great-aunt in which anything she sketches in it comes to life, she draws Madison, the most amazing, perfect, and awesome best friend ever. The thing is, even when you create a best friend, there's no guarantee they'll always be your best friend. Especially when they discover they've been created with magic!


Call Number
J GRAPHIC Gudsnuk, K.

On Order



Sixth grade was SO much easier for Danielle. All her friends were in the same room and she knew what to expect from her life. But now that she's in seventh grade, she's in a new middle school, her friends are in different classes and forming new cliques, and she is completely lost.

When Danielle inherits a magical sketchbook from her eccentric great aunt Elma, she draws Madison, an ideal best friend that springs to life right off the page! But even when you create a best friend, it's not easy navigating the ups and downs of relationships, and before long Danielle and Madison are not exactly seeing eye-to-eye.

To make matters worse, Danielle has drawn the head of her favorite (and totally misunderstood) cartoon villain, Prince Neptune. He's also come to life and is giving her terrible advice about how to make people like her. When she rejects him and he goes on a rampage during a school pep rally, Danielle and Madison have to set aside their differences to stop him!

Author Notes

Kristen Gudsnuk is the creator of the comic series Henchgirl, and the illustrator of the book series VIP by Jen Calonita. In her spare time she performs with the band Sally. Kristen learned everything she knows about art and life from Sailor Moon, X-Men, and Animorphs. She lives in New York City with her supportive dog and loyal boyfriend.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-While her family bickers over who gets what from their late matriarch's belongings, 12-year-old Dany comes into possession of her grandmother's sketchbook. Dany draws the portrait of a prince from her favorite anime series into the notebook, and, to her surprise, the character's head comes off the page and starts giving life advice. Dany decides to draw herself a best friend, whom she names Madison, to help mitigate the horrors of middle school. Unfortunately, not only does Madison resent Dany for her seemingly frivolous existence but the prince's cruel advice might not be what Dany is looking for. This brief volume accomplishes a hefty amount of storytelling as Dany uses magic to avoid uncomfortable situations but must contend with unintended consequences. She struggles with loneliness at school, bullies, and her dysfunctional family while simultaneously working out her relationship with Madison, all rendered in a visual style taken right out of a Cartoon Network show. The supernatural elements blend seamlessly with the everyday situations. Toward the end, the title references "magical girl" media (a manga and anime genre), making it a likely hit with reluctant readers and fans of these works. VERDICT Making Friends is the Scott Pilgrim for the tweenage set, perfect for any younger readers' graphic novel collection.-Matisse Mozer, Los Angeles Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Dany's first shock comes while drawing idly in a sketchbook that she's inherited: her drawing of Prince Neptune, a favorite anime character, springs to life from the page. Apparently, the sketchbook can make anything that she draws real. Adrift in middle school, insecure Dany is thrilled to realize that she can create a cool best friend who won't scorn her, but she forgets to give her creation, Madison, a credible backstory. Injecting fantasy into an angsty school-life story allows Gudsnuk (creator of the Henchgirl series) a wealth of plot twists. Dany learns the ropes of middle school with help from a loyal, funny friend, Tom, while grappling with the implications of Madison's free will and her own new abilities. Gudsnuk's sturdy cartooning gets added spice from Prince Neptune's anime world as well as elfin mini-characters who make snarky asides: "adios, muchacho," one says to the defeated Prince after he fails to take over the world during a school pep rally. Gudsnuk's powers of imagination will make her plenty of friends, too. Ages 8-12. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Making friends is tough in a new school; could a magical notebook be the answer?Seventh grade is not beginning well for Dany; her two besties are not in any of her classes, and not only is she having a tough time making new friends, she is also being bullied. One day, Dany inherits an unusual sketchbook from her recently deceased great-aunt. While sketching her favorite evil prince from the beloved anime Solar Sisters, she discovers that anything she draws in the notebook becomes real. Dany then creates for herself the perfect best friend: Madison Fontaine, a trendy new girl from New York City who is knowledgeable about trends, sassy, and fun. However, Dany soon learns that even if you tailor-make your own BFF, how you treat them still matters. This charming graphic novel features full-color, manga-inspired illustrations and a breezy plot that blends wish fulfillment and fantasy with an approachable and contemporary storyline. With a broad brush, Gudsnuk hits many of the angst-y issues of middle school, including popularity, bullying, family relationships, body image, and fandom, creating appeal for a large swath of readers. Main character Dany is white and seemingly comfortably middle-class, as is her creation, Madison. Secondary characters offer a bit more inclusivity, portraying different races, ethnicities, and orientations.A nifty pastiche of middle school matters. (Graphic fantasy. 7-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Dany is an awkward seventh-grader navigating her way through the perilous world of middle school when she stumbles upon her great-aunt's enchanted sketchbook; suddenly, her talent for drawing gives her the amazing ability to create friends out of thin air. But Dany's creations start to turn on her; first her perfectly engineered best friend, Madison, begins to search for meaning in her own life. Then Prince Neptune (the disembodied head of the handsome villain of Dany's favorite show, the Sailor Moon-esque Solar Sisters) plots his evil reign over Connecticut. At once cringeworthy and delightfully absurd, Making Friends, much like middle school itself, is somewhere between teenage cynicism and a childlike mastery of fantasy. Although Gudsnuk's characters are sometimes suspiciously wise beyond their years, and her stylized visual references perhaps a bit too meta-referential for some younger readers, they will certainly recommend this story to readers for whom middle school is a distant and painful memory. Middle-schoolers, meanwhile, will appreciate Gudsnuk's light touch in bringing an empathetic, joyful, and judicious treatment to those tough in-between years.--Ada Wolin Copyright 2018 Booklist