Friction by E R Frank is a young adult novel, probably more for tweens than mature teens, that deals with friendships and honesty. When Stacy comes to a small alternative private school, Alex is enlisted to introduce the new student to how the school is structured. Drawn in by Stacy’s sophistication and sympathetic to the girl’s loss, Alex is happy to help but soon grows uncomfortable with some of the things that Stacy says, eventually realizing that maybe her new classmate isn’t as nice as everyone else seems to think she is. Stacy’s stories quickly spiral out of control and Alex is not the only one who suffers the consequences.
I know that if I had read this book as a young adult, I would have devoured it, fascinated by the story and its implications.* As an adult, I read with more experience and wasn’t surprised by the outcome. I was very pleased with conclusion, which could have easily turned toward the trite but allowed the book to end on an enigmatic note where forgiveness hovers somewhere on the horizon. I love it when a writer trusts the reader, especially when a young adult writer does so.
This novel stirred up some memories. I would say more but I might give too much away. I definitely think this novel is worth reading and is one I would recommend but I realize that the subject is one that may be triggering to some people and that younger readers may not be ready to approach the subject. I would happily share this with my young readers, if I had any around.
*The book wasn’t published until 2003 so I would have either had to stop aging or time-travel to have read this as a young adult.