Too mature? Too smart, too capable, too all-around? ""My problem is that I don't have any problems,"" 14-year-old Stephanie Stone complains to her closest friend Easter. Who, in this best-of-all-South-Georgia-worlds, is comfortably and outspokenly black. But then, unprecedentedly, Steph loses the first drummer's chair to Easter's boyfriend Way-Tall Paul; she opts out of the annual science fair to improve the chances of shy friend Mary; and, most critically, she begins to have disturbing feelings about Jase (as in Jas.) Marbury. After an exchange of notes, Jase suggests that ""we do something besides write notes,"" and they have a first bicycling date. Whereupon Jase confesses that he doesn't like bicycling, he just likes her. Disillusion and retrenchment: she's not ready, etc., etc., and neither is he. Or, as she says, inconceivably, to Jase: ""Just because most girls my age are ready, or think they're ready, for boyfriends, is no reason for me to put myself on their schedule."" The attraction is so nicely handled, with authentic palpitations, that you're sorry to see it end in this stiff-necked fashion--which also cancels out the book's other plus features, like Mary's grim rebellion against her tyrannical mother.