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Frank, E.R. Friction.

FRANK, E.R. Friction. Simon & Schuster, Pulse. 197p. c2003.0-689-85385-8. $6.99. J

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. Paula Rohrlick, KLIATT

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.
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Author:Rohrlick, Paula
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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