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by Mariah Fredericks

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-689-85092-1
Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum

Friendship conquers all in this ninth-grade slice-of-life as two teenage girls, one hot, one not, make it through their first rocky year of high school. Sari and Jess, the only two girls at Eldridge Alternative “who don’t communicate by squealing and squeaking” have been best friends forever. Besides a love for tacky movies, they share a hatred for classmate Erica Trager and her Prada Mafia, a clique of rich, stylishly attired girls whose “combined IQ is roughly equivalent to that of a kumquat.” But suddenly, Sari, who is beautiful, sexy, and ready for adventure, doesn’t want to spend her nights watching old movies; she’s fallen “madly, psychotically in love with David Cole,” a handsome and popular senior who is fully enmeshed in a romantic relationship with another in-crowd member. Much to the more ordinary-looking Jess’s despair, Sari ends up having a secret and degrading relationship with her beloved, who is firmly glued to his old girlfriend in public. Sari is consumed by David and the minutiae of their secret liaison, while Jess is fixated on Sari and what her involvement with David will mean for their friendship. With insight and a nice sprinkling of wit, newcomer Fredericks realistically captures high-school society, as well as neatly nailing the poignant voice of teenage obsession. Alas, obsession is by its very nature repetitive and the situation can become tiresome—also true to life—though readers who persevere can draw strength from the notion that friendship, like true love, can survive a multitude of stressors. A bright new voice to note. (Fiction. 12+)