Without authorial comment, Landau presents 22 first-person profiles revealing how in-school and out-of-school life affect one another. These young people represent various economic and ethnic groups and both public and private schools. Their situations range from being a recent immigrant to being bulimic, from feeling poor at prep school to feeling like monkey-in-the-middle during a divorce; most are striving for acceptance. The narratives gain power and poignancy from individual drama (a tall girl is teased with the name ""Moose""; a gay boy puts all his energy into a straight, all-American image) and metaphor (a vice-principal is seen as a troll, waiting under a bridge to devour children). There are also teachers who play a positive role, not only in their subjects but in helping students to think about themselves in a new light (including one who helped the tall gift toward an interest in modeling). As in her other recent books on prostitution and homelessness, Landau--an accomplished interviewer--shows sympathy and respect for her subjects here, capturing the bittersweet contradictions of adolescence.