Marti, who has lived in the small town of LaMond, Iowa, all her life, is hesitant when a teacher directs her to show a new girl around. Sarah, a smart, accomplished, pretty girl, seems not to notice Marti's lack of enthusiasm, leading Marti to observe, ""There's nothing worse than having someone think you've been nice when you haven't intended to be."" There are complications with Sarah's arrival: She is Jewish, and Marti witnesses incidents of cruelty and prejudice directed toward Sarah and her family over the ensuing weeks. Even Marti feels ""suspicious, somehow"" and views the newcomer as ""not one of us."" Marti calculates in a self-interested manner how both the new girl's presence as well as her other classmates' abilities and troubles will affect the performance of their basketball team. Thus, the issue of prejudice intrudes into her everyday concerns. Readers Will be hooked by the realistic portrayal of vital issues and by the thorough presentation of such thought-provoking themes as inclusion and exclusion. Although the scenes leading up to a climactic basketball game are glossed over, the action lends excitement to the novel and includes a turn of events--Sarah sustains injury but doggedly keeps playing--reminiscent of the drama in the recent Olympics.