You guessed it--sixth-grader Fex O'Toole's main problem is that he just can't turn down a double dare. He puts an insulting drawing on the principal's desk, even though he thinks the principal is an okay guy. Later he accepts a challenge to kiss a strange girl at a party. When the lights go on he's a laughing stock, and in trouble with his good friend Audrey. Fex is cured when a four-year-old he's babysitting jumps into a dangerous river on a dare from the same bad kids who've been daring Fex. Fex jumps in after the kid and comes out a hero. Such a plot suggests a thin, contrived little story, but Greene fills it out with assorted amusing encounters that put across Fex's perplexity and discomfort appealingly. The story's course is meandering and a little slack, and the people tend to be stereotypes (the bad kid) or too-folksy ""characters"" (an older woman, storekeeper and Fex's confidante, who dies in the end); but Greene treats them all, and Fex especially, with sympathetic humor.