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America

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  844 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Acclaimed author E.R. Frank writes provocative fiction. America, a foulmouthed, yet endearing 16-year-old, attempts suicide and is placed in the care of psychiatrists at Ridgeway mental hospital.
There he learns to cope with a past filled with neglect and mistreatment with the help of Dr. B. Alternating between Americas present- day stay at the hospital and his past, livin
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,589)
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Becky Ginther
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Misplacedparisian
I loved the story of America. Just wish someone besides Rosie O'donnell had produced the movie because I laughed all through it, whereas the book actually got me deep.

America is a young boy of mixed heritage (black mother? unknown father) who feels like he fits nowhere. He's lost and can't seem to be found by anyone because people do not see him. The system fails him so many times he resigns himself to go wherever the winds blows. The only stable figure in his life would've been his foster mothe
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Nick Ferranto
I did not like this book at all. "America" was probably the least enjoyable book I have ever read. There were no exciting parts that a person would hope to see in a book like this, about a kid who has had a very troubled past. If I were E.R. Frank, I would seriously reconsider writing this book and make it much more entertaining or exciting. A book like this, which is targeting an audience of about my age, should have many ups and downs and things that a person would never guess would happen, th ...more
Trisha
A book my 13 year old read after finding it on the shelf at the library. On one hand, I'm sad she read this on her own. There is definitely mature content for a younger teen. But, on the other hand, she gave me the book and told me to read it so we could talk about it.

Well, I read it. It is a tough and violent tale of childhood gone very very wrong. I can't imagine how tough it would be for a 6 year old to be let down by almost every adult in their life.

The story is told in current time with fl
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Roxy
At first, when I started reading this book it was really confusing for me. I didn't understand the writing structure of the author. But once I started reading more and more of the story. I got why America a nine-year old boy was so messed up. Not only mental, where he was feeling insecure of himself. But the trama that made him feel special, yet he didn't know any better because he had never really had any love in his life. And with this he had finally thought that he was being loved for once in ...more
Mayra
This book was really confusing at first because when I started reading it I didn't knew what it was talking about and I got kind of lost. After a few days reading the book I founded interesting and easy to read, I just needed to get into it and comprehend every thing it was talking about. In my opinion I liked this book a lot because it really got my attention and I got to learn a lot from it. One of the things I learned from this book was not to give up in yourself. I know this might be hard fo ...more
Sally
Jun 20, 2007 Sally rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young Adults
Shelves: youngadult
America is the victim of the foster care system. A nurturing relationship with Mrs. Harper when he was very young helps him overcome the many traumas that happen to him over the next twelve years. That and a good therapist.
Janay
Sep 16, 2014 Janay added it
In the book America, it was about a male with color to his skin and how in the child care system it was hard for him to find a decent home to find and at the same time it also showed the readers why he often acted the way he did. Most of his anger coming from the rough background of his parents and how he was always sent back to child care services and having hard time finding a home to actually call home.
I personally enjoyed the book and I like how it actually gave me insight to what is was li
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Liz
devastating and amazing
Lydia
America is a child who has fallen through the cracks of society. His story is a highly disturbing one. Told in fragments, which intertwine and interrelate, America tries to explain his tortured existence of feeling like no one who is nowhere. He has been subject to sexual abuse, has attempted suicide, has lived in the foster system, is a runaway. While he is committed to a residential hospital, he meets Dr. B. Like all therapeutic relationships, the road is rocky and rough, until America can sta ...more
Shelby Brown
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shawn
May 30, 2013 Shawn added it
Book: America
Author: E.R Frank
Reviewd by: shawn
The book America is about a 15 year old boy named America who is sent to Ridgway to get help for thoughts of suicide. An interesting fact about America is that he doesn’t like to think, wonder or talk about anything when the doctor asks him some of the questions.
You really get deep into America’s life story. It talks about thing like how his life was happy and cheerful and how it changed within weeks on how he turned bad. It also tells you on what
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Shel
Frank, E.R. (2002). America. New York: Simon Pulse.

9780689857720

The story of sexually abused and institutionalized fifteen-year-old America is a challenge to get through. Written by a clinical social worker who has “known many Americas,” the book switches back and forth between ‘then’ and ‘now’ showing the experiences that brought America to the office of Dr. B, the psychiatrist who just may be able to help him decide against committing suicide.

America struggles with being ‘lost’ and feeling
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Cathleen Ash
This is America:

(read page 93 - middle)
I’m scared poopless. I’m afraid to sleep because of the dreams, and I’m afraid to be awake because all these flashes keep squeezing through and I can’t stuff them back the way I used to. I’m afraid of never being able to get back up there to Everest, and I’m afraid that if I get back up there, I’ll never come down, and I’m afraid of Dr. B. because he sees me and he knows things and when they see you and know things they mess everything up, and I’m afraid I’
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Dawn Ang
America is one of those characters that you just can't get out of your head. I read this book several years ago and I can still remember him and his story.

This novel is thought-provoking in ways that YA fiction is failing to do be today. It is the story of a troubled young man, America, and his struggle to cope with the hard life he is forced to live due to his absent mother and low societal status. The author illustrates a life for America with such substance that it forces you think twice abo
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Samantha
The story of a troubled teen of mixed races who has spent most of his life in the foster care system. After a failed suicide attempt he has been paced in a mental health care facility and it is through therapy that he is able to open up the wounds of his past and finally begin to heal.

The horrors that America faces throughout his story are difficult to read and include neglect, molestation, poverty, and abandonment. In order to survive, America builds a wall to protect himself from anything that
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John Mcdonnell
America was just a great novel. I think the best books are ones that change your thinking and help u develop into a better person. America is one of those books. America is a boy who sees himself as a nobody. His therapist, Dr. B asks him "where do u see yourself in five years?" America responds with "nowhere." His troubled past is so much full of despair and terrible abuse that you feel so bad for this poor kid. I recommend this to any kid who feels neglected and abused. They will understand wh ...more
Briynne
Not awful, I suppose...but lacking. Considering this is meant to be a young adult novel, it reads rather like a pysch 101 textbook's chapter on troubled teens. There's just too much analyzing in this book - it's repetitive and gets boring quite quickly. The book is heavy-handed and the foreshadowing is even more so. Seriously, if you didn't know that Browning was going to turn out to be really creepy/pervy from just about the first major scene he was in, you probably shouldn't have even bothered ...more
Todd
IF YOU LIKED THIS TRY...

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

For mature readers only!!!
Abused and troubled kid tries to make it back out of “being bad” through an extended relationship with one particular therapist. I was most interested in the therapy conversations. The chapters flip between “then” and “now”, giving you the history that makes him so troubled. A lot of dialogue, most of it rings pretty true. Definitely for mature (XIIIs) audiences; explicit sexual material in terms of his trauma and development. Got me toward the
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Eliu
The book America is about A BOY/MAN named America (weird name, I know).
The book talks about America's life from age 4 to age 20. It includes the journey to get out the place he dreads.
The main idea or theme for America is courage. I say courage because America has battled from being a lil punk and a loner as a child to everybody respecting him as a man. America's courageous acts made him look like a man.
How did America feel in the place he dreaded for 4 years? I spent time with this question
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Terry
This is a story that fans of gritty, realistic teen fiction will respond to. As I read, I was reminded of Ellen Hopkins' Impulse, as both books allow the reader to get inside the head of damaged characters; the character of Dr. B. recalls Robin William's therapist in the movie "Good Will Hunting." America is at once familiar and unique, a boy so damaged he is dangerous to himself and others.

With clearly marked flashbacks and realistic language, the book is perfect for readers who struggle with m
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Elizabeth
America is a crazy amazing book.

You try not to think. You try not to imagine, but then those cracks pop up, and these flashes squeeze right through. At first, some of it's not too bad, and you get stupid, maybe even wanting a little more, but then you pull yourself together, knowing what all is likely going to ooze out if you're not careful....
Fifteen-year-old America has been nowhere, has been nobody. Separated from his foster mother. A runaway. A patient. Without love. Without hope. And, even
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Karen
A book told from the perspective of a boy lost in the system of foster care, and written by a social worker, so the story has veracity. America is born to a drug-addicted mother, and while he finds happiness in a foster home for a while it doesn't last, and he deals with abandonment and abuse. The chapters alternate from the present, when he is 15 and in a mental hospital after a suicide attempt, and the past, so we slowly discover the cause of his emotional state. The growing relationship with ...more
Brianna
Apr 25, 2012 Brianna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Older teens (MATURE teens 15+)
Recommended to Brianna by: Found it on a shelf in the library :)
Wow, this was absolutely amazing. It was so deep, it got me thinking about things I had never really thought about before. I was reading this in class, and I kept having to try not to bawl my eyes out, and that only happens when I'm reading an INSANELY good book. I would not recommend it for most people my age, however, because of how heavy it is and how much sexual content there is. I mean, not that it's bad, but most kids my age would blush and not be able to read too much, especially females, ...more
Synesthesia (SPIDERS!)
This book is depressing, but it's one of those books where a character goes through hell and comes out on the other side better than ever. It would go well with the book Dancer on the Edge by Han Nolan and Born Blue which is UTTERLY depressing and has those themes of teenagers going through complete absolute hell.
The writing is good, the voice of the character is powerful and poetic as he comes to terms with his past and his lost state.

It also makes me want to reform the foster care system beca
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Amy
america's story is certainly filled with some raw and dark moments that resound powerfully with the reader, but for me there was just something a little off. firstly, america comes across as a fantasy character to me, a romanticized idea of what a troubled inner city youth is, rather than the real thing -ie. he secretly reads and loves laura ingalls wilder.i never believed he was real. then the book jumbles between various time sequences and it is unclear what specific age america is through mos ...more
Heidi
I read this for Edgy lesson for my YA Lit class. Review: Sad story of an unwanted boy and the results of his traumatic childhood which a therapist is trying to help him conquer.

It was a subject that I would rather not have had to read and written in a way (mostly language) that I would rather have not had to endure. But the subject matter is sadly something all too prevalent in our society and cannot be ignored. This book mostly left me hoping that all victims can find someone they can trust an
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Jennifer Peterson
Very disturbing and sad book. The main character, America, is a multi-racial boy who was passed around growing up. Mrs. Harper wanted to adopt him and she took care of him most of his years. But she was getting old so her nephew Mr. Browning took care of him most of the time. Mr. Browning end up sexually abusing America so America sets the house on fire and runs away. The fire kills Browning. America goes from rehab type of things and tries to kill himself. The story switches between his past st ...more
Nadiene
An eye opening story about the foster care system in the U.S. and the effect it has on our youth.
Lisa Lewis
Oct 25, 2008 Lisa Lewis rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lisa by: Jon-austen Linch
NOT FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS!!!!!!!

America is the story of an extremely troubled boy from childhood to becoming an adult. It is a compelling story, one that phychology majors would find fascinating, I think. America's story weaves back-and-forth from his present and his past, allowing the reader to understand why he is in a hospital after attempting to commit suicide.

The language was beyond rough, but in this case, I do understand why the author chose to incorporate it into the story; it fit
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America 2 8 Mar 11, 2012 08:15AM  
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E. R. Frank is the author of two highly praised novels for Atheneum: America and Friction. Her first novel was Life Is Funny, winner of the Teen People Book Club NEXT Award for YA Fiction and was also a top-ten ALA 2001 Quick Pick.

In addition to being writer, E. R. Frank is also a clinical social worker and psychotherapist. She works with adults and adolescents and specializes in trauma.
More about E.R. Frank...
Wrecked Life is Funny Friction Dime Wave

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