An amiable first novel that portrays the slow and reluctant coming of age of the tomboy daughter of a college football coach. Elizabeth Donegal carries all of the usual burdens that afflict the young and the insecure, plus one: She knows more about football than most of the boys and all of the girls in her class. That's because Liz's Daddy is an assistant coach and her life revolves around the football season of whatever college town they happen to be living in at the moment. ""Peace was not a high priority in a football family,"" according to Liz, who found out the hard way. Nearly every year, after all, the Donegals moved to a new town in the hope that Daddy could work his way up to Head Coach, and, as a result, a life lived out of suitcases and in motels and boys' dorms has left the Donegal children with only the vaguest conception (and no firsthand experience) of what most of their peers consider normal homes and family life. Religion provides some continuity for Liz (despite her early premonitions that she might be a feminist or lesbian), and she spends more and more of her spare time in Catholic circles. There, she meets her two first loves: Peter, an artistic loner who commits suicide during his freshman year at Notre Dame, and Robert, who can't seem to decide whether or not he wants to enter a seminary. Although the usual adolescent traumas that Liz suffers are far from lighthearted, there is surprisingly little anger in her telling of them, and her story as a whole is refreshingly free of the self-pity that trips up so many young novelists their first time out. The climax of the tale is as understated as its narration, and manages to be both credible and pungent. Pleasant, winning, and unpretentious.