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Friends First

Friends First

by Christine McDonnell

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Miranda and Gus have been best friends forever. They are always together, riding bikes, watching horror flicks, reading books or writing their new story, ``Alien Attraction.'' During their eighth-grade year, however, Miranda is propelled into adolescence and her friendship with Gus begins to change. Growing into a young woman both excites and frightens Miranda; she is confused by her emotions, and the long-term friendship only complicates things. She tries to avoid Gus, but as she comes to understand her feelings, she realizes that he will always have a special place in her life. Sharp, sensitive details and clever analogies highlight the narrative, as McDonnell candidly yet delicately explores what reaching adolescence means for a girl in today's world. Although the dialogue is occasionally stiff, both characters and plot are infused with credibility. Ages 10-up. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8 Miranda and Gus have been best friends since infancy; his family has become an extended family to her and her mother, Fran, especially after the death of Miranda's father. During her eighth-grade year, Miranda experiences many changes. She loses the company of Emma, the housekeeper, after Emma and Fran disagree on sex education. Miranda is attacked in her hallway one day; although she is not hurt, she must acknowledge her vulnerability--especially to men. Newly aware of her own sexuality, she now feels frightened and ashamed. She even begins to exclude Gus from her life. Through his support and her mother's, Miranda is able to deal with the attack and establish a changed but special relationship with Gus. The story has enough familiar Boston landmarks to give concreteness to the events. The characters are quite believable, chronicling the curiosity, excitement, happy/sad emotions of a 14-year-old, as well as the fear caused by an encounter with modern life's violence. The adults are realistically portrayed; Fran displays the frustration and pain of any parent who wishes to protect a child and cannot. The story deals honestly with sexual harassment and sexual violence, presenting no magic answer, but concludes with the expressions and accomodations that allow the characters to cope with life's realities. --Carol A. Edwards, East Central Regional Lib . , Cambridge, MN

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.40(w) x 7.15(h) x 0.35(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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