A powerful story of a gay teenager troubled not so much by the fact of his sexual preference as by its loneliness. ""Dirk had known it since he could remember."" Determined not to be hurt by ""it""--he has seen sorrow in the eyes of his grandmother Fifi's friends, Martin and Merlin--he has built up a tough, cool exterior while desperately trying to conceal his passion for equally cool classmate Pup Lambert. When Pup, not quite as sure of himself, breaks off their friendship, Dirk despairingly falls into a self-destructive spiral, moshing and sneering his way through LA's club scene until he lands at last back in his bed, half-dead from a beating. There the ghosts of his great-grandmother and his parents rise up to offer their tragic, triumphant tales, and lovingly ask him to add his own chapter. Block's writing, always passionate, dazzles here--Dirk's ""love for Pup raged through him bitterly. It burned his shoulders like the sun, blistering as if it could peel off layers of skin."" The author repeats the theme common to all her books--""Any love that is love is right""--and in a lyrical final passage commends the liberating power of music, dance, and especially story. Fleshing out one (actually two, as Dirk's companion-to-be, Duck, puts in an appearance) of the colorful characters introduced in Weetzie Bat (1989), Block displays the brilliant, original vision that makes all her books unforgettable.