When Kelly's widowed mother decides to join two old friends and their children in a house she's inherited and start a restaurant with them, only-child Kelly takes a while to adjust. Almost a teen-ager, Kelly also imagines herself on the verge of establishing an identity for herself in her exclusive school; her negative attitude toward the move gets her off to a rough start with new roommate Esther, involved in trying out to be a high-school cheerleader, and with almost everyone else in her new extended family. Kelly and Rhonda, an overly dramatic girl next door, have a minor adventure trailing a figure Rhonda is sure is involved in a drug ring, only to find that it's just Alexander, a boy who's another occupant of the house. In fact, all the characters Kelly first views as enemies prove similarly benign, and by the end an unreasonably large number of conflicts have been resolved. Although Corcoran's theme is commonplace and her characters predictable, plot details are original enough to hold the interest of those young people who empathize with Kelly's problems.