Emily Gold's parents have always told her she's ``good as gold,'' but she's heard the hushed conversations about ``developmentally disabled'' and knows her ``head doesn't work right.'' Her early-adolescent interests and openly stated wish to have a baby and be treated like a grown-up alarm her protective parents, especially her father, who warns that ``Boys are after only one thing.'' Emily is an innocent; her reach for independence brings some close calls, but her father finally admits, respectfully, ``You've got a good head on your shoulders, kiddo.'' Skillfully depicting Emily's evolving relationships with friends, family, and self, Rubin sympathetically portrays a likable girl's pain and vulnerability as she aspires to be ``a normal, regular, real thirteen-year-old teenage girl.'' A fine coming-of-age story that deserves a wide audience for its subtly delivered message.
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