Suspense over a sibling in danger, and no kind words for estranged fathers. Griffin (The Brick House Burglars, 1994, etc.) creates a story of contrasts. Vikki, 16, is the good girl in her family, doing the housework and minding her half-sister Nikki, 9, while their mother works. Nikki is often naughty, and lies to cover her tracks. Both girls have not seen their fathers since babyhood; when Vikki's father reappears, ready to make amends, Nikki is jealous. She hides in the car when Vikki's father takes his daughter out, and ends up at an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. Terrible screams come from inside before the father returns without Vikki to the car and drives away, swearing. Nikki escapes from the car and makes her way home to tell what she knows. No one believes her. The narrative alternates between Vikki's and Nikki's points of view: Vikki, who has been beaten and nearly molested by her father, struggles to get home, while Nikki tries to get someone to listen to her. Her character is particularly well-drawn; her childish attempts to get away with whatever she can in response to a self-centered mother are painfully believable. Vikki's responses feel authentic as well. Their mother's emotional distance is harder to swallow, but on the whole, this tightly written novel moves along well, building dramatic tension until the girls are reunited.