Jess doesn't have many friends, at first, because he is still searching for his own identity. He's not sure who he is and because of this his classmates aren't too sure either. There are several reasons that he avoids Leslie Burke at first. In the first place, Leslie is a girl. Jess has three sisters and a mother--he has NO interest in having another girl in his life. Secondly, Jess has been training all summer to be the fastest student in the fifth grade. When they have their race at the beginning of the year, Leslie outruns Jess--and this makes him angry.