This stunning novel by E.R. Frank explores what happens when the truth is worse than the rumor.
Twelve-year-old Alex loves her small alternative school. She hangs out with her best friend, Tim, every day, and Simon is the coolest teacher—he’s even starting a soccer team just for them. And then Stacey comes to town. With her tongue ring and air of confidence, Stacey immediately shakes things up in the classroom. Alex is drawn to her at first, but when Stacey starts rumors that something is going on between Alex and Simon, trouble brews. As the class and Tim begin to believe Stacey’s rumors, Alex starts to doubt what is really true herself.
This explosive tale about school politics, relationships, and the frictional power of suggestion is “sure to spark heated discussions” (SLJ, starred review).
Friction 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.”
E.R. Frank is the author of America, Friction, Wrecked, and Dime. Her first novel, Life Is Funny, won 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.