Caught between her beautiful older sister and a younger one who can apparently do no wrong, 13-year-old Kelsey feels as if she's being squeezed out of her own family. Since Daddy lost his job there's been plenty of tension in the family, but Kelsey gets more than her share of blame and criticism--or so she thinks. What might have been a pleasant summer interlude on Cape Cod is turning into a hopeless string of minor offenses and steady bickering until Kelsey meets Gabe, 15--an only child with divorced parents who regards her with special interest and her family with admiration. Through Gabe's eyes, Kelsey learns to see her family more clearly; she also helps Gabe through an angry, difficult time: when Gabe is allowed at last to visit his estranged father, he learns that his father is dying of cancer. Adler constructs each of her characters with both strengths and flaws; Kelsey realizes at last that her own combination includes low self-esteem and the ability to understand and (when she wants to) get along with others. Adler clearly states her themes and concerns by having Kelsey, her sisters, and Gabe unusually verbal and open with one another about how they feel; the plot (including a sudden, ill-fitting climax when Kelsey rescues her younger sister from drowning) takes a back seat. Still, a competently written ""middle sister"" story.