The progressive petri dish of Forest Alternative's middle school is stirred
The progressive petri dish of Forest Alternative's middle school is stirred the wrong way when sophisticated, tongue-ringed Stacy makes the scene. Almost immediately, Stacy takes advantage of the school's relaxed and experimental atmosphere to start a little excitement.
For reasons known only to herself, she begins to insinuate that Simon, the 8th grade`s idealistic, good-looking young teacher, is in love with Alex, Friction's mild mannered first person narrator. Embarrassed and infuriated, Alex tries to squelch the gossip, but only manages to make herself look more guilty to her classmates. When she finally confronts Stacy, Alex is horrified when Stacy tearfully admits that the reason she's been spreading the rumors is to draw attention away from the fact that Simon is actually molesting her. Confused and half caught up in Stacy's stories herself, Alex makes the mistake of trusting her shifting feelings instead of what she knows to be true, irreparably harming her admired teacher in the process.
Friction is a provocative, deadly accurate portrayal of puberty, in all its manipulative, perplexing, unmanageable glory. Alex's quest to discover the definition of truth is a journey every teenager makes, and teen readers of Friction will take great comfort in the fact that a trusted author, who clearly hasn't forgotten adolescence herself, is helping to chart the path. (Ages 12 to 15) --Jennifer Huber