Superbright Stanley has always been both an achiever and dependable in other ways, like helping Tracy's dad collect scientific data on a nearby prairie. So, when Stanley is suddenly hooked on alcohol and pot, it takes his friends a while to catch on. Meanwhile, narrator Tracy has her own problems: she and her mom, a best-selling author of self. help books, don't seem to get along anymore--especially since Dad moved out. Finally, Stanley's repeated need for rescuing makes Tracy realize that abetting his coverups isn't in his best interest; and, by confiding in her mother (who wisely helps Tracy make her own responsible decision), Tracy not only finds a way to help Stanley but reopens constructive, affectionate communication with her mother. "Hadley Irwin," a writing duo responsible for other YA novels (e.g., Abby, My Love, 1985), writes smoothly and presents an authentic picture of the self-delusion that deters recognition of a drug problem by an addict or his intimates. But the accompanying naivetÇ here is less believable; and the novel would be stronger if Stanley were shown with more depth: since his pre-drug character isn't demonstrated, the contrast loses impact. Still, an honest look at a conflict between various loyalties that is faced by many teens.