The Friends, published in 1973, is the first in a trilogy of young adult novels portraying the interconnected relationship between two families, the Cathays and the Jacksons. Ruby (1978) and Edith Jackson (1979) complete the series. All three of the novels have received an American Library Association citation. Each is told from the perspective of the title character and focuses on different problems young black adolescents faced growing up in the 1960s. Author Rosa Guy provides both a rich portrait of Harlem and insight into the lives of the Caribbean immigrants who settled there. Her view of the 1960s is unflinching; the tension in the neighborhood provides a catalyst for the story's action. Guy's novel is important because it graphically presents issues of race and class prejudice which had rarely been explored in young adult novels. She was one of a group of novelists who emerged during the late 1960s and 1970s to enrich the world of children's literature by providing stories centered around black characters and their world. Alice Walker, in her review of The Friends in the New York Times, describes the void which Guy's novel filled. Walker speaks for an entire generation when she notes that she was a "young black girl who spent the first twenty years of her life without seeing a single book in which the heroine was like herself." In an article in Hornbook, Guy characterizes herself foremost as a storyteller who wishes to create characters that her readers will learn to know. She adds, "If I have proven to be popular with young people, it is because when they have finished with one of my books, they not only have a satisfying experience—they have also had an education."