More than anything, Miranda, 14, wants contact lenses: her thick glasses make her look ""like the first alien to land on earth. A bug-eyed monster."" Reluctantly realizing that her parents can't afford them, Miranda decides to get a summer job; determined not to take the easy way out by catering with her best friend's aunt (she hates to cook), Miranda resourcefully finds other jobs: in a grocery (she lies about her age but resigns when conscience strikes); at a camp; baby-sitting; dog-walking. She does earn the contacts; better, she begins to take more family responsibility and even to enjoy cooking. This middle-class African-American family makes a likable role model: in the course of the book, Miranda begins to adopt her parents' respect for work, firm values, and tolerance. But her amiably relaxed narrative is excessively detailed, and there are also vague, or illogical, patches: How does Miranda suddenly know how to cook baked beans and chicken soup from scratch? Why doesn't Mama, an avid reader, borrow library books instead of scrounging in junk shops? Still, a believably nice family, solving their problems in a laudably wholesome manner.