Meg Copeland was the ""family clown,"" the youngest child in a large, happy, basically well-run family, and its very well revealed here just how miserable a child in such a secure situation can be. She's bright, imaginative, and lively, but she has a special knack for doing the wrong thing and running into trouble; she thinks, sometimes justifiably, that her family is picking on her; she frequently clashes with other people; but her biggest problem is that she can't keep up with her school work. The strains start to snowball: her arguments with older sister and roommate Sal (Sal, a cripple, has problems of her own) increase when Meg doesn't get the single room she was promised. Grandma Kent moves in, finds the adjustment difficult, and in the cramped house she and Meg have frequent arguments. Meg's inability to concentrate on her studies pushes her farther and farther behind--the awful period when Meg fails every subject, can't bring herself to show her report card, and finally forges the signature is very well handled. The puppy Meg was given for her birthday turns out to be a major worry--it's as difficult to discipline as she is. When the report card brings Meg's situation to the crisis stage, things finally start to improve--Meg is desperate enough to allow Sal and her best friend to tutor and organize her, the sisters' relationship improves, she and Grandma Kent come to recognize how much they appreciate each other, spring comes, and the book ends on a warm note. There are multiple characters and multiple situations, but they're all treated well, interrelated, and underscored with humor.