Interviews with 20 adolescents and social, service professionals who specialize in family problems. McGuire lays it on the line in these emotion-filled vignettes, with little being held back of the pain felt after death, separation, or divorce. The kids' fantasies touch the heart (brothers Peter and Quentin had the chance to follow Mom to a hundred-acre farm--""it was going to be really good""). But the realities bring them and readers down with a dull thud (Mom was never reliable and Peter trusted Quentin's judgment more than hers). The teens involved range from middle-class, college-bound youngsters to those on the periphery who've run away, live in shelters, or are flirting with lengthy futures in the prison system. The sadness of such a broad panorama becomes the book's power, reflecting on not just one group of teens but on this generation and the one to follow.