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Friction Paperback – 2 Aug 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's; New edition edition (2 Aug. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068983750X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689837500
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 21.3 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,518,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Acclaimed author E.R Frank is a clinical social worker who has practiced in Manhatten, Brooklyn and New Jersey. Through the course of her work, she has known many Americas, and they have become her inspiration. Of the characters in her powerful novel 'America Is Me', E.R Frank says, that they are the result of her cumulative experiences and imaginings - they are fictional in everything except spirit - 'they could easily have walked through my office doors, but instead, they have settled in my heart'. America Is Me is her first book for Simon & Schuster UK. She lives with her husband in Montclair, New Jersey.

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The first time we all meet Stacy, it's just a regular morning. Read the first page
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ez on 10 Nov. 2004
Format: Hardcover
A disturbing story of what happens when new girl Stacy joins twelve-year-old Alex's class. (A+)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 26 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Richie's Picks: FRICTION 11 April 2003
By N. S. - Published on
Format: Hardcover
" ' You can trust me,' I finally say. Because when people tell you a secret, it's like a gift. You don't just give it away to someone else, even if you never asked for it in the first place." --from FRICTION
Back in the spring of 1999, working as a Children's Buyer, I read an advance copy of Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK. My reaction to reading the book was to order a shelf-full for each of the stores. I wrote at the time that SPEAK should be required reading for all eighth-graders, both guys and girls.
Now, after reading SPEAK aloud to a couple of years' worth of eighth-grade English students, I can readily articulate some of its lessons:
We learn, of course, that Melinda shouldn't have put herself in danger by getting drunk in the dark with a bunch of older strangers. But then, after having gotten drunk and having been raped, we also know that Melinda could have avoided or mitigated that nightmare of a freshman year if either:
(1) She had spoken to adults she trusted about what had happened to her.
(2) Her friends and schoolmates had reacted to her unusual behavior (calling the cops, inconsistency in her physical appearance, skipping school, not speaking) by talking to Melinda or speaking about her to adults they trusted.
It is a totally different story, yet a very similar lesson that is encountered in FRICTION, an extraordinarily gripping tale designed for sixth, seventh, and eighth-graders.
FRICTION is written by E. R. (Emily) Frank, a young star who is ascending rapidly on the Y.A. horizon. As with reading SPEAK, FRICTION left me misty-eyed as I finished it.
In FRICTION, an innocent young girl's budding sexuality contributes to the terrible confusion--and, ultimately, to the tragic consequences--when Stacy, a new (and older) classmate begins what appears to be an insidious campaign to portray their young and very popular teacher, Simon, as a "pervert."
Alex, the seventh-grade soccer-playing girl, narrates the story of what happens after Stacy arrives at the progressive private school attended by Alex and Tim. Stacy is the girl with secrets who knows how to make an entrance:
"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."
Stacy's behavior and her unrelenting proclamations to the students about what's going on threatens the life-long friendship that Alex has with Tim. Alex becomes more and more uncertain in her own mind as to what the truth really is:
"I want things to make sense now, but...the things I need to figure out don't have rules. Like why Stacy wants it to be true that Simon and I like each other in that certain way. Like why I've been scared lately that maybe she's right. What if Simon does look at me?"
As with SPEAK, things spiral out of control because of the failure--by every one of the students--to confide in an adult. The events result in Alex's loss of that innocent childhood image of Simon as a teacher; she instead begins to see him as a man.
(And, so here we go again...)
Many educators apparently get weak-kneed about teaching SPEAK to eighth graders--preferring to ignore its value to those eighth-graders who could well wind up in Melinda's position. Fearing the "mature" content (or fearing other adults who haven't even read the book), they pass off all responsibility to high school teachers, thus diminishing the possibility that its vital message will be heard in time by students at risk. (Melinda notes sarcastically in SPEAK how they don't get around to learning about sex at Merryweather until eleventh grade.)
Similarly, with teaching FRICTION, I could hear the tension start building about five paragraphs back: "SIXTH GRADE!!! Discuss WHAT?!!! BUDDING SEXUALITY?!!! IMPROPER PHYSICAL CONTACT AND SEXUAL ABUSE?!!!"
That's right, let's all procrastinate until an age that it's all ridiculously beside the point. Sorry. If it were me, I'd willingly take on a thousand irate parents/administrators/school board members if it meant that I could save one kid from going through the trauma Melinda faces in SPEAK or that Alex, Tim, Stacy, and Simon all face in FRICTION.
This will be a book you'll be hearing plenty about in the coming year.
Richie Partington
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
E.R. Frank is 3 for 3 9 Sept. 2004
By Jarrod T Thompson - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have just finished reading three E.R. Frank books in a row. She is three for three, in my opinion.

Friction is a very accurate description of an eighth grade classroom and what can happen at a small school when you add a new girl, rumors, and the natural confusion that teens feel as their worlds change from bubble gum and Big Chief Tablets to their periods, puberty and sexual feelings.

E.R. Frank does a superb job of drawing the reader into the story, accurately and believably describing the gossip and rumor circles that can easily develop in this type of school setting, and showing how seemingly innocent rumors and drama can turn into very hurtful items.

All of the characters in this book learn a solid lesson about life and how important it is to say what you are feeling and speak the truth on behalf of those you care for, or lives can be drastically changed.

Friction is a story of life, love, learning, betrayal, repression, trust, friendship, honesty, lies, the importance of parents being there for their children and knowing when a child is crying for help.

E.R. Frank knows kids very well. She knows teens even better. Most importantly, E.R. Frank has not lost touch with the younger generations.

E.R. Frank is a gift to Young Adult literature, and Friction is just the latest in her series of unforgettable contributions.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good "rite of passage" book 12 April 2005
By ellen close - Published on
Format: Hardcover
When a new girl at school starts making comments that undermine the credibility of a popular teacher, 12 year old Alex finds herself at the center of the storm. In Friction, she narrates the confusion and anxiety of her 8th grade year at a small alternative-type school; the teacher moves up along with the children, so Simon has been their only teacher. His rapport with the students is good, encouraging them with charm and hugs to push their limits and test their abilities through rock climbing and other physical challenges. He is their soccer coach too, and his years of coaching are starting to pay off; the team is solid and will finally achieve their goal of challenging a prep school team. Then Stacy joins their school. With a pierced tongue, hair that is the envy of all the girls, and a bravado attitude, she exudes an intimidating cool maturity to which she adds an air of mystery by refusing to talk openly about her family or background. When her whispered taunts about Simon take on an unpleasant sexuality, the students abandon their innocent respect for Simon, accepting instead Stacy's jaded, cynical attitude. But what is the truth, and who is right? Find the shocking answer in this accurate portrayal of the reluctant but inevitable loss of innocence in the passage from child to "adult."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good, But not the Best 20 Jun. 2003
By Cameron M - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In "Friction", we meet Alex, a spirited girl attending Forest Alternative School, where the teachers like to be called by their first names and things are done differently. One day a new girl comes to her class. Stacy shakes things up immediately and starts making Alex feel uncomfortable by spreading rumours that their popular teacher, Simon, "likes" her. At first Alex ignores Stacy, but after a class camping trip she begins to wonder if there's some truth to what Stacy's been saying.
Are the things going on between her and Simon just a special bond they have and a few accidents where she was in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or is Stacy right, and something perverted and gross is going on? Alienated from her best friends and unsure of how to talk to her parents or anyone else, Alex doesn't know where to turn and her confused narrative is a very gripping read.
Although I found this book a bit slow to start off, it got fairly good by the end. Sometimes it seemed a little juvenile, but overall it was an interesting, if imperfect book. Sexual absue is something that needs to be put out in the open, and "Friction" does a good job.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Poignant and Interesting Novel 4 Oct. 2003
By C. Apple - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book was one of the best that I have ever read. It takes you through the life of Alex, and 8th grade girl who I could relate to. She goes to an alternative school, with only one teacher for all her subjects through her middle school years. The teacher's name is Simon, and all of his students think he's awesome. However, when a new girl, Stacey comes to town, she brings things to the students' attention that haven't come up before. Why does he hug Alex? Why did things like this happen, repeatedly? She asks. Stacey challenges the students faith in their teacher, and that's when things get confusing. This book takes you through the class in one year. Although it is short, the theme is so clear, and it really makes you think. E.R. Frank writes in a different way than in her other novels, but this book just proves that she is an amazing author for teens. I would defeniately suggest this book to kids 12 and up, and even some adults. We all need to be more aware of sexual harassment, and this book really shows that.
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