Fifth-grader Nicky stands irresolutely at the threshold of adolescence, the new world of lipstick and boys pulling her forward while the easy familiarity of playing dolls with Jeannie, a younger classmate, holds her hack. Meanwhile, though the Daffodils were softball champs last year, they're playing poorly and deeply divided--thanks largely to sophisticated new player Caitlin, who's formed an in-group. Hoping to rekindle team unity, Nicky buys a bra and rudely snubs Jeannie; then, after some minor intrigues, she realizes that she can take her own path to growing up and even finds a better use for the bra, as an ace bandage. Softball action takes a hack seat here to Nicky's slow discovery that she's no longer a relatively uncomplicated child. Killien lays her themes out clearly without trying to force-feed readers, and though several characters just stand around, or have an obvious Purpose, the main players--even Caitlin--are drawn with a sympathetic touch.