The threat of Stash, the Leader who's determined to keep his hold over Karen (""you'll never get away from me. . .""), and the spectacle of his followers freaking out and marauding and puking all over the place are no doubt meant to scare kids silly about the dangers of drugs. Karen, so far gone on bennies and ups and pot that even the old lady on the train can guess what's wrong, spends her summer being rehabilitated by the (rather noxiously) wholesome Carpenter family, but readers will merely be marking time for Stash's sensational kidnapping attempt (during which he murders one of his gang). Impossible to ignore parallels between Stash and Manson are both inept and tasteless; and however prophylactic the intentions, the result is certainly a downer.