cover image FRICTION


E. R. Frank, , read by Jessalyn Gilsig. . Listening Library, $25 (, unabridged, three cassettes, 4 hrs., $25 ISBN p) ISBN 978-0-8072-1647-7

With her convincing portrayal of 12-year-old Alex, Gilsig (Boston Public) is the perfect narrator to lead listeners through Frank's (America) latest novel, a tale about the tangled web of fallout that accompanies a child's sexual abuse. Tomboy Alex feels at home in her alternative school where the student body is diverse and pupils refer to their young, progressive-thinking teacher by his first name. The relaxed atmosphere is a foreign one for new girl Stacy who arrives from a "regular" school and grabs lots of attention with her cool attitude and pierced tongue. Alex gets swept up in Stacy's aura, only to find that it's a dangerous place to be. Stacy creates elaborate, hurtful lies that not only jeopardize the career of a beloved teacher, but also form a façade of bravado for the dark personal secret Stacy harbors. Gilsig proves very capable at wringing just the right nuance from Frank's authentic-sounding dialogue. The actress lets readers know that Alex has big, deep thoughts, but doesn't get overwrought. And Gilsig's ability to capture Stacy's worldly and fragile tones helps make her an ultimately sympathetic character. Ages 11-14. Simultaneous release with the S&S/Atheneum/ Jackson hardcover. (May).