A brain aneurism has left Sharon's father disastrously altered, incapable of loving or showing love for his family and prone to sudden blackouts that make his former skills--driving a car, hunting--out of the question. Sharon also faces the usual adjustments to ninth grade, like discovering that her beautiful best friend is more advanced at handling boys than she is. Sharon and her family face other adjustments as well: Sharon's mother, seeking comfort, is poised on the verge of an affair, while her father exhibits a childlike curiosity about his daughter's changing body as he tries to make sense of his condition. Carter's portrait of a family functioning in the face of tremendous difficulties is unpredictable, even startling: at one point, Sharon is ready to sleep with her father if it will restore him to the way he was ""before."" Sadly, she recognizes that such a transformation is impossible. Undistinguished writing, but thought-provoking for readers who--like Sharon--are mature enough to think rationally about the unusual circumstances here.