One of six ""problem"" teenagers on a court-ordered desert camping trip, Dave is challenged from the start by hostile Louie from a rival L.A. high school and goaded by the rest into going off with Louie when the other boy steals the keys to counselor Ted's prized new jeep. But Louie can't really drive the jeep, and when it stalls in the desert the two wander off and get themselves lost for a desperate two days of fear, fights, hunger, thirst, near drowning, and a mutual hatred that gives way to comradeship as they struggle together for survival. Luger makes a bit much of the boys' reconciliation and the conclusion they draw from the ordeal ("". . . everybody is too busy fighting and screwing each other . . . the damn fools. . . all they have is each other"") and her ending is more than a bit optimistic about the progress of the six; but her handling of the confrontations and different kinds of tensions makes this worth trying on the reluctant readers at whom it is aimed.