In this sequel to The Baby Grand, the Moon in July, and Me (1994), Annie Armstrong is in eighth grade, and everything is going wrong. She breaks up with her boyfriend, Claude, she's pegged as an egghead by popular opinion, and she's vexed by the strictness of her parents. Barnes is mostly convincing in her portrayal of Annie's dilemmas, such as the slow and painful process of getting over Claude, but the characterization can be uneven. Annie's first-person present-tense narrative occasionally sounds too adult, and she tries so hard not to annoy or disappoint her parents that readers will not understand why she does things (e.g., piercing her ears against their wishes) she knows will make her father and mother furious. However, readers will care about this aspiring astronaut, who finds a joyous fate at book's end and cares as much about her bright future in school as she does about her new romance.