Renie begins her first-person story sullen and tough, after her parents' divorce has taken her from upper-middle-class suburbia to a Queens jungle high school--to which she adjusts by carrying a switchblade, cutting classes to smoke joints, and aligning herself with a gang. When the boy she has hooked up with for protection is arrested for driving a stolen car containing drugs, Renie happens to be riding along. So she is packed off to Connecticut with her remarried lawyer-father, to confront his spoiled stepdaughter Gretchen, who resents sharing her room and the family's attention. But Renie, ever adaptable, knows she must toe the line. She becomes friends with her stepmother and with Jan, a nice deaf pre-vet student who shares her interest in animals. There's a temporary setback with Renie tempted to split, when Gretchen frames her by planting dope in her locker; but you know at the end that things will work out. Much of this is too hackneyed to be believed: Renie's early tough pose, Gretchen's viciousness, and the sweet, straight relationship with Jan. Still, kids who can tune in on Renie's resentment (a major emotion in Morgenroth's novels) could find themselves rooting for her as she struggles with her own and other people's expectations of the various Renie Lakes.