One more crazy mixed-up suburban kid exposes the empty lives and distorted values of her plastic middle-class family--as Thelma scorns and agonizes, supposedly in a notebook for her shrink, over how and why she set fire to the Maplewood, New Jersey, Ethical Culture building on the eve of her older sister's marriage there. Thelma at last gets help in the private North Woods school for the disturbed, where the teachers are nice and wonderful meditation sessions supplement her psychotherapeutic ones. (Typically, though, before she can expound on the spectacular benefits of meditation, Thelma must apologize for its being such a fad.) Also at the school, Thelma is inspired by Plato's cave story to see her family as less evil than simply unenlightened. But this is not until she has laid oft us a lot of glib disgust and rage at the sort of stereotypically inane American family that must be even more common in juvenile fiction than it is in Maplewood, New Jersey.