Friction

( 28 )

Overview

Simon is the coolest teacher anywhere. Forest Alternative is lucky to have him. When Stacy arrives -- a new kid with secrets, gleaming hair, and a tongue ring -- she sizes up Simon and agrees, adding: "He is a total babe."

True.

What Stacy says later about Alex and Simon after the class overnight camp out is not true, but looks as if it could be. Alex herself begins to wonder what's real, what's not. But she ...

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Overview

Simon is the coolest teacher anywhere. Forest Alternative is lucky to have him. When Stacy arrives -- a new kid with secrets, gleaming hair, and a tongue ring -- she sizes up Simon and agrees, adding: "He is a total babe."

True.

What Stacy says later about Alex and Simon after the class overnight camp out is not true, but looks as if it could be. Alex herself begins to wonder what's real, what's not. But she can't confide in her parents. They'd freak. And, after all, she does love Simon.

Listening to Stacy though, everyone else is totally suckered -- most painfully Alex's best buddy and sort-of boyfriend, Tim. "Why were you hugging him?" Tim wants to know, and it's hard to explain. Simon did not do what Stacy claims!

Did he? Could he?

At age twelve the truth seems hopelessly complicated. And it gets even more so after Alex makes a surprise visit to Stacy's house. There, she finds out the answer to one terrible question, only to discover another, far worse.

When a new girl at the private school Alex attends starts rumors about Alex's favorite teacher, Alex and her eighth-grade classmates are not sure how to act around him or with each other.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A tomboyish 12-year-old feels comfortable at her high school until a new student insinuates that there is more than friendship between her and another classmate, and claims their teacher is a pervert. PW wrote, "The author invites readers to explore the large gray area between truth and falsehood," addressing the topics of teen sexuality and child abuse. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Twelve-year-old Alex leads a normal life until the new girl, Stacy, shows up one day at school. A teacher asks Alex to show her around. They become close after Stacy entrusts Alex with a deep secret. Although Alex recognizes Stacy's differences, she stays close friends with her. One of the first things Stacy lets Alex know is how she believes their teacher, Simon, has feelings for Alex. Alex thinks the idea of her teacher liking her is absurd, but cannot convince Stacy of this. Stacy soon begins to spread rumors about Simon liking Alex. One day Stacy gets hurt badly and has to be rushed to the hospital. Alex soon learns that the secret Stacy told Alex is a lie. When Alex gets very upset over the whole ordeal, Simon comforts her. Alex goes over to Stacy's house to see her after the accident, and Stacy gets upset while she is there, explaining to Alex how Simon touched her sexually after she got hurt. Given Stacy's affinity for lying, Alex refuses to believe her. Alex knows there's a line that adults should not cross with children, but what she knows to be the truth gets twisted with the lies everyone else believes. In this novel Frank uses emotions to inform the reader of the uncertainties involved with facing molestation as a young child. She takes an uncomfortable subject and writes a terrific narrative. Frank also makes it appropriate for the classroom by writing on a young adult level and by avoiding unnecessary details. 2003, Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster, Ages 12 up.
—Sarah Tuten
KLIATT
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May, 2003: Alex loves Simon, her eighth-grade teacher at her alternative school, just as she loves soccer and her best friend, Tim. But when a new student named Stacy arrives, everything changes. Stacy starts rumors that Simon has a crush on Alex, and interprets every gesture he makes as proof. It starts everyone wondering, even 12-year-old Alex, and slowly poisons her relationship with Simon, Stacy, and even Tim. Alex longs to confide her worries to her parents, but can't quite summon up the words. When finally Stacy accuses Simon of molestation, matters come to a head, and the police come to investigate. Yes, Alex admits that Simon has hugged her and touched her sometimes—but she neglects to point out that it was not sexual in any way, and in the end a bitter Simon leaves the school, as do Alex, Tim, and Stacy. Alex belatedly comes to understand the difference between telling "the real truth. Not just the facts." With her understanding parents' help, she realizes that Stacy was being sexually abused by her own father, and that her accusations were really a cry for help. Frank, author of the all-too-realistic and impressive Life is Funny (reviewed in KLIATT, March 2000) and America (reviewed in January 2002), doesn't shy away from difficult topics, and this novel is no exception. She conveys Alex's confusion convincingly, and in the end readers will sympathize with everyone involved. An excellent way for teachers, counselors, and parents to open up discussions of what constitutes sexual abuse, and a gripping read for younger adolescent girls. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2003,Simon & Schuster, Pulse, 197p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Paula Rohrlick
VOYA
This book deals with the thin line between teacher and student relationships. Based on my experience, the description of the private school is quite accurate, from the physical description of the building to the teacher. The only problem I had with the book was that parts seemed highly unlikely, such as when Simon (the teacher) tells Alex to wait for him in a McDonald's and then he leaves to make out with his girlfriend. Nevertheless, overall Frank has outdone herself. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2003, Atheneum/S & S, 208p,
— Kortney Hartz, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-Alex, an eighth grader in Forest Alternative school, is the only girl on her school's soccer team, and best friends with Tim, a boy she has known all of her life in this novel by E.R. Frank (Atheneum, 2003). Alex finds her life changing dramatically after Stacy, a new girl, arrives at the school. Stacy challenges Alex's relationship with Tim and with their non-traditional teacher, Simon. After a class camping trip, Alex learns that there are rumors circulating around school. Stacy inflicts her dysfunctional unhappiness on everyone, and the power she wields with her fantasies causes friction among the kids and the adults connected with the school. The narrator, Jessalyn Gilsig, presents a very credible voice for Alex, and her innocence and naivete come through clearly. There is a limited attempt made to differentiate characters, but since Alex is the narrator, it would have been more effective if the other characters had not been given different voices. There are many conversations in this story, and listeners may find the constant "s/he goes" instead of "s/he said" very distracting, even though it's the vernacular of those speaking. That phrase is much more effective written than spoken. Young adults who enjoy the gritty realism of Frank's stories will respond positively to this recording.-Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Alex is 12, teetering on the cusp of puberty, and enormously happy with her life. She attends an alternative school where she has the best of all teachers, Simon, whose unconventional familiarity has won over his entire class. When Stacy arrives, full of attitude, Alex is drawn to her--until Stacy begins to insinuate that Simon’s interest in Alex goes beyond the teacher-student relationship. Alex’s present-tense narration allows readers to get inside her head as she struggles to sort out the truth, adding enough ambiguous detail that the reader becomes as confused as Alex. Alex’s unsophisticated voice is just right, as are the changing attitudes of her classmates, torn between affection for Alex and Simon and willingness to believe Stacy’s accusations. Frank’s focus on the highly combustible environment of a classroom full of pubescent children and the chaos one abused teen can bring to those around her is subtly done, and will be immediately recognizable to her readers. (Fiction. 11-14)
From the Publisher
Booklist, starred review Gripping...unsettling.

Publishers Weekly Sure to spark heated discussions.

SLJ, starred review Convincingly genuine.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756942960
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Series: Richard Jackson Books (Simon Pulse) Series
  • Pages: 197
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

E. R. Frank is the author of two highly praised novels for Atheneum: America and Friction. Her first novel was Life Is Funny, winner of the Teen People Book Club NEXT Award for YA Fiction and was also a top-ten ALA 2001 Quick Pick.
In addition to being writer, E. R. Frank is also a clinical social worker and psychotherapist. She works with adults and adolescents and specializes in trauma.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The first time we all meet Stacy, it's just a regular morning.

Our teacher, Simon, is in front of the room, shuffling flash cards. He leans back against the science counter, mixes the deck a couple of times, and hooks one ankle over the other, the way he always does. Then he holds up the first word.

"Ology," he says out loud, so we can hear how it sounds. I write, the study of. Things are quiet while pencils scratch, sounding just like gerbils making a nest out of cedar chips and Kleenex. Simon holds up the next one. Astro. On a test he'll put them together, and we'll have to figure out that astrology means "the study of stars."

"Ichthy," Simon says. Fish, I write, and then I kick Tim and make a gagging face to remind him how we remember that one: Fish tastes icky....ichthy. But Tim doesn't kick back, even when I kick him again, and then I notice there's this massive hush in the room. I look up to see a girl standing in the doorway. The new girl. Simon told us she was coming, but up until this second I'd forgotten all about it.

She's got shiny black hair down to her behind and gray eyes that take up her whole face, and she's as skinny as I am. She's wearing a purple-and-black turtleneck and jeans that look brand-new, and she grins at everybody like she's totally psyched to meet us. She's got a gap between her two front teeth.

"Hi," she goes. "I'm Stacy." I see a flash of silver in her mouth. A tongue ring. "Let's get this party started."

And that's how it begins.

Copyright © 2003 by E. R. Frank

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

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2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2012

    The book Friction by E.R Frank takes place in a private school c

    The book Friction by E.R Frank takes place in a private school called Forest Alternative. The main charecters are Simon, Alex, and Stacey. In this book we learn the effects of gossip in the life of a young adult. Stacey is a new girl at Forest Alternative who spreads rumors about the teacher Simon having an inapropriate realationship with one of his students. When Alex is aware of these rumors she turns to her parents for help on how to handle the situation. Unfortunatley her parents are busy with work and can not help Alex. In the end Simon's reputation is tarnished and Alex is left wondering if everything that happened was her fault. This 197 page book takes you on a journey through this young teens life and helps the reader understand the effects of gossip.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2010

    Very Good!!

    This book is a very good book. It's a book of what teens would go through today would recommend for high schoolers because this is book has teen scenes in it. Haha:)

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  • Posted January 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    leave Friction on the shelf!!

    Know one likes the mean girls at school, yet there always seems to be one. You know the type, stuck up girls that think their better then everyone else. In Friction, by E.R. Frank, Stacy is the new mean girl at school. She spreads horrible lies that shakes the hole class up. Then Alex ,the victim of the lies, decides she has had enough. The story takes place in a not so normal middle school. The 8th graders still go to recess and the characters seem extremely elementary. The main characters Alex and her best friend Tim have the personalities of kids a lot younger then themselves. The author did a horrible job portraying the characters personalities. They were doing and saying things unusual for their age group, and I found it extremely odd and hard to read. Even though the characters were portrayed badly the idea of a student teacher love affair is what kept me wanting to read on. Friction is a moving and powerful story about forgiveness and it teaches an amazing lesson.I would recommend this book to middle school aged kids that enjoy drama filled books.Its defiantly not a most read book, but i can see a younger age group really enjoying this book.

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  • Posted January 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing JLM

    this book was really good because when i first stared reading this book i thought it was goign to have alot of drama in the story having a girl with a tounge ring then a teacher that people think is "A Babe" overall this book was amazing i read it in liek 2 day. i recoment this book to 14-up because it somethimg that tennagers hear.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2008

    Thrilling

    Friction was a very interesting book to read. the fact that it had conflict after conflicts made you just sit down and read it until you were done. the ending could have been better thats for sure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2008

    This book is outstanding.

    You read the first page & you hooked on the book forever. I read it for school. I didn't even want to know what it was about, I just took it off the shelf. Then I read the first page & it kept getting more & more exciting. Seriously, every page is a suprise that you will never see coming.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2008

    An Awesome Book

    This book was amazing for me. In its mere 108 or so pages, the author managed to connect with my emotions. I read it in 4 hours at eleven at night staying up till three in the morning. I was crying towards the end many times as I reread sections, though I don't know why. I wish there was more so I could finally learn what happened to the main character and all these different relationships with people. An awesome teacher - student relationship, and the power of friendship, trust, the truth, and coming of age type of book. I feel as if Alex is now a part of me, and I hope for her the best. I thought this was an amazing book, and I say a MUST READ

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2007

    Great Book

    This is a great book, when i first started reading i got a little bored... but as i went on i got more and more interested. On the night i finished it I stayed up till 1'oclock in the morning crying. I was feeling how it must be to be in Alex's shoes. And how it was not only Stacy's falt for telling lies. I also found it interesting how the auther talks in the present. I recomend this book :':':'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2007

    Worst Book Ever

    This book was horriable. It had no plot and just spews out random points that have nothing to do with the story. The the word chioce was poor at best. The characters are soooo guliable. It's like what ever Stacy says is the bible or something. The part I really hate is when Alex starts to believe the things Stacy makes up about her. I read this book in a co-ed group so everyones opinions could be diffrent but they wern't we all hated it. If you get a chance to read this book don't. Instead pick a better one that won't be a waste of your life.(Read a James Patterson book they're a ton better!)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2006

    I was pretty disappointed by this book

    The language that the author uses (in characterization or not)got annoying after about the 15th page. The plot wasnt all that great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2006

    This is amazing!

    When I began to read this novel I thought to myself 'what in the world is going on?' Though the farther you get into the novel the better it becomes! This novel has many themes that many people can relate to love, family, friendship, trust, judging, teen sexuality, and child abuse. There are many more. All in all this was an amazing novel!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2005

    Berry good

    This book is a really good book that i thought to be extremely realistic! I enjoyed it and it takes less than a day to read... its that intresting!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2005

    Brandy, a freshman student

    I enjoyed reading the book Friction, when I first looked at the cover of the book I looked as if what am I getting ready to read. I elborated on whether I should read the book, so finally I did. After the anticipated time I really enjoyed reading the book. I felt like while I was reading the book I could tell what would probably happen next but I was very wrong. As I say again I enjoyed reading the book literally.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2005

    A cannot put down book

    Friction is one of my favorite books.i couldnt stop reading it.I think the books theme is 'dont judge people before you really get to know them ',thats because the whole book is based on judgment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2005

    possibly the greatest book

    When i first picked up Friction in the library, i didn't think anything of it. But the more i read, the more i became entwined in it. Friction is the story of twelve-year old Alex, whose life at Forest Alternative is pretty normal. When a new girl, Stacey, becomes part of her class, everything turns upside down on Alex. Stacey starts spreading rumors about the possibility of their teacher, Simon, liking Alex. As more coincidences occur between Alex and Simon, Alex begins to suspect that he might indeed have feelings for her. all the while, Alex's friend since childhood Tim sits on the sideline and believing everything he sees and hears. The climax of the story is when after a freak accident happens and Stacey breaks her arm, she accuses Simon of molesting her in the principal's office while waiting on the ambulence. Alex and Tim then fight and make up. And, after seeing a movie, establish the possibility of a future relationship. All seems fine and normal, but the story still twists at the very end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2005

    awesome

    this books was so good.i was so angry at the girl (i 4got her name) that started all the rumors, and this book is a good lesson to teens and kids younger: that even though spreading rumors or talking gossip is fun, it can hurt lots of people and ur 2 blind 2 see it. I definitley reccomend, especially to teen 12 and up

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2005

    Bookluver

    I loved this book. It shows how cruel the world can be, but at the same time how wonderful it can be. Very good and inspireing book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2004

    Great Book

    This book has became one of my favorite books. This is an unforgettable novel I will never forget!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2004

    this is awsome

    this was great alex is so cool i thought that it was going to be a book about eigth graders being immature and got it and it wasnt something that i would usually read but i gave it a chance and i loved it it is now one of my favirotes it was almost like reading a manga comic because it was so descriptive. you should really read this

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2004

    She did it again...

    This is one of the best books ever, but I expected it from Ms. Frank. I have read all three of her books now, in order and she hasn't failed me yet. I loved the first two so much that I requested that the school librarian order this one and she did and sure enough, I was the first one there to check it out. From the minute I opened the book and read the inside cover, I new this Stacy girl was going to be intersting. When Alex went through all that for her to find out she wasn't Jehova's Witness, I wasn't mad at her. When she lied on Simon, I wasn.t mad at her, I knew Stacy had a reason to cover the truth, and it turns out, I was right. Stacy's tales were so convincing, even I believed her and started feeling that Simon was taking advantage of Alex's innocence. Just read the book, cause it's no fun when someone else tells you the story.

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