A love story of sorts featuring Toby, who is mistreated by his mother and her boyfriend, and Tasha, whose family (except for her absent mother whom Tasha refers to as ""Susie Slut"") is generous and loving but off the conventional track: the father steals for a living and enlists his kids as assistants. Fifteen-year-old Tasha thinks nothing of ripping off bikes for her younger siblings, and when she and Toby at last get together--after much insecure hostile behavior on her part--her father and older brother accept his presence in her formerly-virgin bed without batting an eye. At school Tasha drinks and smokes (cannabis and tobacco), and so finds her place with the ""bad"" kids at every school she attends (her father's occupation necessitating frequent moves); and though she's a good basketball player, she always loses her temper and gets kicked off the team before she can play a game. But at her present school, which she's entering as this starts, there's a wise and sympathetic, perhaps idealized school psychologist who helps her control her temper, and Tasha winds up the star of the team. The counselor also helps Toby hang in there until, from another source, he gets a chance to live with a decent family. Partly because of Toby, Tasha gradually gets sick of stealing and determines to go straight. Toby's happy ending comes out of the blue, but Tasha's reform carries some conviction and her nice, irregular family is well and warmly portrayed. Drake's writing is far from eloquent but her understanding acceptance of the high school underclass has a genuine ring.