Once again, Byars gives us a memorable character in her portrait of Bingo, poised for his first steps into adulthood--if only he can find out what he's supposed to do. Bingo--like his school-assigned diary--is full of questions. What can he do when he falls in love with three girls within minutes, when he's not yet up to "mixed-sex" conversation? What should he do when he discovers that Billy Wentworth, who calls him "Worm Brain," is moving in next door? And how can he respond when his teacher, Mr. Markham, hands out strange assignments: writing laudatory letters about Markham to Markham's girlfriend, and, later, writing another letter to convince someone not to commit suicide? Bingo puzzles over these ever more serious questions as he confronts a world of suddenly vulnerable adults. In less capable hands, Bingo's explorations and the events he faces, which take a more serious turn when Mr. Markham attempts suicide in the second half of the book, could be melodramatic and uneven in tone. But Byars never loses touch with the realities beneath the wryly humorous surface. She communicates her compassion for all her characters to the reader who--like Bingo--will be wiser by the book's end.