Fellow-student Jonathan, a near-perfect achiever who takes over Ann's senior year in high school and pretty much takes over the class, is different. A natural leader though not a belonger, he has fluffy Ann getting A's and the whole class striving to live up to the utopian ideals of his revived Atlantis. The high school scene and Jonathan's influence might not be totally credible (by giving it a date especially a recent--1977--one, Ross makes it less so), but it's an interesting relief from the predictable synthetic verity that prevails. Even the tawdry writing can be accepted, considering that Ann is telling the story--though Ross still should have heeded the cardinal creative-writing-class rule and crossed out her favorite sentences. (There are many such.) But then, a little past midway--and past a few hints, later withdrawn, that Jonathan is homosexual--it becomes clear that Ross' conception is as half-baked as her style. Jonathan attempts suicide by drowning (a gratuitous turn of events); Ann dives in to rescue him; Jonathan panics and clutches; and though he then saves her life with artificial respiration, she ends up in a nursing home with a blood clot on the brain stem. And there, a year later, she finally forgives Jonathan, releases him from the devoted daily visits that have strained the Atlantis image and kept him from going off to college, and gives herself to death (the first-person narrative unexplained). Despite Ross' sure evocation of the nursing-home atmosphere and her restraint in springing Ann's loss of speech following a second blood clot, all of this is as adolescently romantic as the dream of Atlantis--but with far fewer possibilities. Still, other young girls inclined to wallow in the prose will slip easily into the dying girl's moods.