In this fifth book about Al, she faces the landmark of turning 14 in typical Al fashion: she has what amounts to a mid-life crisis. On the theory that Al is a baby name and lacks ""pizazz,"" Al considers alternatives like Zandra. She also: almost celebrates a birthday at the Rainbow Room but has a more satisfying party at the home of her best friend; is bemused by the fact that her mother has a date with her best friend's grandfather; and reexamines her values in confronting a world full of people, many less materially prosperous than she. She then seriously considers divesting herself of her possessions, except for her favorite red shoes, which she will keep to remind herself of former excesses. But a more successful solution to Al's identity problems is provided when she visits a nursing home and is a roaring triumph as Madam Zandra, which allows her to improve the world in her own unique style. This seems episodic, but Greene's skill is such that there is not a wasted scene; every line of dialogue crackles with wit. Al's fans will love this.