How 16-year-old Beth Corey fares in the months after her mother's death by suicide. Beth's parents were divorced when Beth was ten, and her mother, an arty Sarah Lawrence graduate who didn't have to work, flitted fitfully from Great Books to a printing workshop to dreams of a gourmet food shop. Beth found her dead in her bed, and now Beth lives with her undemonstrative father, his uptight wife Linda, and their small child. Beth and Linda rub each other the wrong way, which is hard on both of them. Jonathan, a handsome ""hunk"" who shares her seriousness about music, brings her happiness and her first love affair, but then Jonathan drifts off to the Catskills to a summer job and a casual affair, and Beth feels abandoned once more. But Beth's inner strength and sense win out and we leave her coming to terms with Linda, her parents' divorce, and her mother's problems. Zalben's writing is close to Beth's experiences and feelings, but doesn't go beneath their surface; the action is plausible but slow-moving, and flattened out by an almost verbatim fidelity to inconsequential exchanges; the characters and conversations seem real, but not very interesting.