The Friends by Rosa Guy
Published by Bantam USA, 1995
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, her stockings bagging with big holes. Her knowledge of school is zero. She has no parents, she swears and she steals. But she is kind and offers her friendship and protection to Phyllisia. "And so begins the struggle that is the heart of this very important book: the fight to gain perception of one's own real character; the grim struggle for self-knowledge."--Alice Walker, The New York Times