His mother dead and his father on the run from the law, David finds himself swept from his comfortable but lonely life of private school and housekeeper to a new life in a foster home and public junior high school. Immediately targeted by a gang of vicious bullies, David is beaten and hounded. His roommate is Rags, a rebellious boy with a bad reputation and secrets in his past. As the newspapers trumpet the search, capture, and trial of his father, David must make his way in a suddenly hostile world. David's grit and tenacity are admirable, but gradually it is Rags who takes center stage, and forces readers to recognize the humanity of even the most troubled teen. Features of the book seem quaint; nowhere are there weapons, drugs, alcohol, or real gangs, and the characters' problems, by today's standards, are relatively simple. Refreshingly, the adults are not villains: Teachers do their best; the well-meaning foster mother's worse crimes are exhaustion and crabbiness; the authorities are overworked but caring. A pat ending hardly mars this touching and enjoyable book.