Jodi's wonderful mother has been dead of cancer three years when her father marries Donna, a glamorous blonde he's just met, and she moves in along with her son Scott, who's exactly Jodi's age, 13, but cynical and worldly-wise. Be assured that this loaded situation is doomed, with all of the characters speeding the failure. Donna is determined to redo the cosy but tacky house and make over plain Jodi, and Scott is a confirmed boor whose several mood swings to niceness go unexplained. Only Dad holds some hope, but the tensions are beyond his interpersonal skills; his jolly attempts are gauche and futile. In school, moreover, Scott's compulsion to shoplift gets Jodi in big trouble; and meanwhile Donna's secret drinking problem surfaces. It's strictly downhill from there until Donna, rejecting help (as is ""her pattern,"" Scott confides), decides she's ""had it""; and back go she and son to a footloose life in California. A washout, narrated artlessly and without perspective by Jodi.