As a teen I was never happier than when in cahoots with my best friend, passing silly notes, talking obsessively on the phone, pouring out heartache, even fighting. I expected You Be Me: Friendship in the Lives of Teen Girls (Annick Press), edited by Susan Musgrave, to tap into the intense joy and pain that can only come with teen friendships. I hoped for a testament to the buddy who negotiated with the boys we liked and made us dye our hair. But this volume lacks gooey emotion. To be sure, it is a series of smart, no-nonsense essays about growing up. Karen Rivers’ title story beautifully evokes the easy alliances and unexpected feuds that mark teen friendships. Cathy Stonehouse’s “Acting Lessons” conjures the thrill of finding fellow misfits and the value of discovering the fickleness of the world. The remaining stories travel familiar territory: insecurity, sex, the shock of teenage death. But the wistful precision of the writing failed to do justice to such a potent subject. The common thread is not the passion of high school friendship; it is the anxiety and pain of being an outsider, an observer who can’t quite perform social rituals with ease.