cover image Friends First

Friends First

Christine McDonnell. Viking Children's Books, $11.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-670-81923-2

Miranda and Gus have been best friends forever. They are always together, riding bikes, watching horror flicks, reading books or writing their new story, ``Alien Attraction.'' During their eighth-grade year, however, Miranda is propelled into adolescence and her friendship with Gus begins to change. Growing into a young woman both excites and frightens Miranda; she is confused by her emotions, and the long-term friendship only complicates things. She tries to avoid Gus, but as she comes to understand her feelings, she realizes that he will always have a special place in her life. Sharp, sensitive details and clever analogies highlight the narrative, as McDonnell candidly yet delicately explores what reaching adolescence means for a girl in today's world. Although the dialogue is occasionally stiff, both characters and plot are infused with credibility. Ages 10-up. (May)