Two especially fluid stories of adolescence highlight this new, slightly disappointing collection from the author of The Gasoline Wars (1978), a memorable debut. The title story, jazzy with sensitivity, is about a 15-year-old girl's first physical liaison--with an older graduate student: the girl fervently wants to be taken advantage of, eager for any entry into the wider world of self-confidence and talk; the man is uncomfortable about the sexual and legal ramifications. And, in ""Danny's Chick,"" Thompson's sensitivity has a more apprehensive edge--as two teenagers try very hard in their interracial love affair, straining for a near-impossible naturalness and mirroring each other at every turn. As in The Gasoline Wars, Thompson again demonstrates her singular freedom as a writer here, her ability to change moods and subjective voices with ease and grace. This time, however, there's a dismayingly narrow range of material for Thompson to lavish her talent on: too many of the men-and-women stories hinge on an insecure woman's improvised reactions to a private, withdrawn lover or husband; too many of Thompson's heroines rehash old happiness with someone who's no longer capable of inspiring such glowing moments. Throughout, in fact, aside from those two above-mentioned standouts, Thompson's new stories involve more a mere mood or situation than a true tugging interaction between characters. And though this collection is clearly the work of a born storyteller, it suggests that Thompson needs fresh subject-matter to bring out her remarkable gifts.