In this story of teen-age romance, Candace Kane, a high school senior, dares to break the bonds of unreflective conformity. Her subjugation to the anti-intellectual ""smart"" clique in school has its rewards--popularity and the adoration of a callow young football hero. But Candace is a girl with intelligence and feeling, and once she asserts herself there is no returning to the comforting circle of unanimous approval. She defies Kirk in his casual propriatary assumption, rejects him for the less socially acceptable George, and then- as her appreciation of George grows, defies her snobbish mother in her objections to her daughter's association with a boy of less status than Kirk. Candace's need to establish her own values, her frustration at the leveling tendency of the ""in"" group, her resentment of the mediocrity which is being imposed on her, is convincingly drawn in this thoughtful novel which embraces many significant problems confronting today's floundering adolescents.