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The Friends

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  373 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
A powerful, award-winning novel about friendship.
Phyllisia Cathy--She is fourteen. Her problems seem overwhelming: New York, after life on her sunlit West Indies island, is cold, cruel and filthy. She is insulted daily and is beaten up by classmates. What Phyllisia needs, God not being interested, is a friend.
Edith Jackson--She is fifteen. Her clothes are unpressed, he
Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 18th 1995 by Laurel Leaf (first published 1973)
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Oct 24, 2009 Chante rated it liked it
I've read "The Friends" when I was a little younger and the again recently, I'm surprised that I forgot how interesting this book is. It tells the story of a young girl,Ruby, who has a hard time fitting in with American culture. She is from Haiti, I assume, and she is extremely smart, but, sorry to say, ignorant in a way. When her entire class is mean to her and one person Edith saves her from further trouble, she manages to lose her temporarily all because she thinks she's better and above the ...more
May 21, 2008 Ryan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Adults/teachers of young adults
I just finished reading this book for the second time, and it's one of the best books I've read for young adults. The story centers around Phyllisia, a young girl from the West Indies who has just moved to Harlem. Phylissia is intelligent and strong willed. When a poor girl named Edith sticks up for her in class, Phyllsia realizes, with some distress, that she'll have to pretend to be her friend. Thus begins a story that investigates social/economic class in a very personal, experiential way. My ...more
Mar 15, 2008 Lanier rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Adults, Adults, City kids
Great look at the cultural shocks newly arrived female teen (Caribbean) has in Harlem's volatile early 1970s. Again, some twist on the adult(caregiver)/child dynamics as well as the class, race, institutional break downs.

Unfortunately there aren't more novels from this genre and equally regretable, Rosa Guy's other sequels: "Ruby" and "Edith Jackson" are no longer in print. I'm told Ruby is very good.

Poitier's "Measure of a Man" is a great insight to Phy's and her family's experiences prior to
Nov 06, 2008 Asha rated it it was amazing
IRB#3 This book was extremly great. If you are from the carribean like myself you will be able to relate to the protagonist Philliysia. It was a very great book filled with drama and suspense. I would also recamend this book to teenagers who have a difficult time communicating with there parents.
Aug 24, 2007 Kecia rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I admit I'm curious about what happens in the next two novels Guy wrote with these characters (Ruby, Edith Jackson), and the fact that I'm curious means that the story achieved its ends, somewhat...
Jan 13, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
For fourteen-year-old Phyllisia Cathy, the problems that she has as well as her lifestyle have become increasingly overwhelming. Having recently arrived from an island in the sunlit West Indies - along with her mother, father and sixteen-year-old sister, Ruby - Phyllisia finds it a very difficult adjustment to live in New York. After growing up in such an idyllic paradise, she finds New York cold, cruel and filthy; nothing at all like her previous home. She is insulted daily and is constantly be ...more
Aug 06, 2012 Shirley rated it it was amazing
Language and mention of rape make this book suitable for young adults or adults.
The Friends is a highly emotional voyage into the mind of a teenage girl who immigrated from the West Indies to Harlem. It gives insight into the thought processes that motivate teenage and adult behavior. There are characters to be hated and characters to be admired but in the end the characters can at least be understood.
The following statement by Mom was important to understanding she and Calvin's roles in the n
Nicholas During
Jul 25, 2012 Nicholas During rated it liked it
An okay book. While the plot has all the hallmarks of the a classic YA novel, the writing lets it down a bit. The West Indian speak was cool, but not cool enough and a bit all over the place really. What was most interesting this book is the divisions among black classes. Middle class children shocked to realized that father's restaurant caters to poor black customers; black middle class snobbishness towards to poorer people, especially when it relates to shabby clothes; and the hypocritical pro ...more
Asha Hedrington
Oct 27, 2010 Asha Hedrington rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lydia Coyour
Sep 19, 2014 Lydia Coyour rated it it was amazing
I absolutely Love this book! It is so interesting, and the word choose is perfect! It really made me open my eyes, and see around me! I would definitely recommend this book! It is really hard for me to find an interesting book, that will always keep me on my toes, but when i picked this book up and started to read, it made me so... well it's just unexplainable! Even though I am only 11 years old, I really love this book! I sometimes just sit and think- "What would it really be like if I was in t ...more
Apr 25, 2012 Kathy rated it really liked it
I had never heard of Rosa Guy until my cousin mention a book by her last month. Well as it was Ms. Guy gas been writing for years.

"The Friebds" is the story of two "friends," Edith & Phyl, that are classmates in NYC. Phyl newly arrived from "The Island" that is being bullied and beaten by the other classmates for being different and a good student. Edith eventually comes to her defense . This is a story of family issues, coming of age,differences in attitudes and cultures. I really enjoyed
Shirley Cooper
Jan 03, 2009 Shirley Cooper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in 1975 when I first started teching. One of the kids chose it from a selection of black books which I bought from my own money as the school wasn't interested in these books - haven't come a long way? After reading her book review and a discussion I too the book home and read it overnight.
Julie S.
Jul 13, 2010 Julie S. rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2010
This was an odd little book. It's not that I strongly disliked it or anything. It's just that there seemed to be a lot missing. The characters seemed disconnected and irrational, so it was hard for me to connect/relate to them. Usually I can relate fairly well, so this surprised me.
Feb 02, 2012 Mariana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! It was a very quick read! At first, it was slightly hard to understand the context of which it was written but, reading through till the end brought me to not being able to put it down! I loved reading about the hard friendship between the two girls. Very fascinating.
Dec 12, 2008 Susan rated it liked it
Black girl in NY deals with family, race, class. Odd, fascinating story, simple language.
Sep 30, 2012 Simon rated it liked it
Shelves: stockroom
I waited a long time to read this.
Alshia Moyez
Sep 30, 2011 Alshia Moyez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the book that got me hooked on reading. It was the "gateway" book in my early teens.
Fatuma mohamed
omg what a touch story
i loved reading this book
i can read over and over again
Apr 19, 2011 Jo rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sensitive teenage girls
I loved this author when I was a teenager - many moons ago. The fact that she was from the Caribbean and wrote stories from her immigrant perspective also helped.
Jul 30, 2008 xX♥..annakinz..♥Xx added it
Recommends it for: (see above)
I gave this book 8/10. This book seems to be set for people who do not understand how hard it can be for some people living & sufferin by poverty or racism
Jul 24, 2008 Lindsay rated it it was amazing
Another fav read from childhood.
Aug 06, 2010 Jedzaphilly rated it it was amazing
Because I will always love Rosa guy books no matter how old I am.
Oct 25, 2008 Redpath rated it really liked it
This is a heartfelt book.
Jul 08, 2010 Cesar marked it as to-read
i read this book in the college and i like
Erin Hardin
Jun 17, 2012 Erin Hardin rated it it was amazing
i highly recommend this book! it is a great book
Alisha Figueroa
Aug 10, 2010 Alisha Figueroa rated it it was amazing
Don't judge people u never know when u may need them.
Nov 22, 2009 Mel added it
So far the book is good.Her problems seem overwhelming i think she is lonely she only wants Edith but why can she make other friends??
Oct 14, 2007 elissa rated it really liked it
One of my favorite booktalks in the 90's. The friends are Phyllisia, newly arrived in Harlem from the Caribbean, and Edith Jackson, a girl who is often picked on in school.
May 26, 2008 zingha. rated it it was amazing
A powerful look and friendship, class and the journey to becoming a Black woman.
Lexi Leitz
Jan 07, 2013 Lexi Leitz rated it it was amazing
AMAZING but not as good as divergent:)
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Rosa Cuthbert Guy was an American writer.

Rosa Guy was raised in the USA from the age of seven and now lives in New York. She immigrated to Harlem, New York in 1932. Soon after, her parents, Henry and Audrey Cuthbert, died. After, she and her sister went to many foster homes. She quit school at age fourteen and took a job to help support her family.

During World War II she joined the American Negro
More about Rosa Guy...

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