It's almost a caricature of the with-it kids' adventure, along early E. L. Konigsburg lines; but there are those who'll take to narrator Jan's boffo situation, never mind the nonsense that comes after. She's spending two weeks at her ""eccentric""/ A.O.K. great-aunt's Fifth Avenue apartment (while her parents are in Europe), and now she's going to meet Courtney Van Allen, ""the best-known twelve-year-old in the country, maybe even in the world"": daughter of movie star Sylvia Sutton and senator/prospective president James Van Allen, granddaughter of ultra-rich penthouse dweller Mrs. Van Allen, namesake of motor cars and breakfast cereals. And, Jan soon discovers, a mess: ""crazy."" Courtney is wearing ""a dirty, beat-up T-shirt about three sizes too big""--which she's had on for 46 straight days--bearing the message Drop Dead; and she's ""going to keep right on wearing it until certain people get the message and drop dead!"" Why is the girl who has everything on the outs with the world? Her parents are temporarily estranged; she doesn't think either of them cares about her; and more run-of-the-mill such. Courtney, naturally, also has a shrink: the stereotypical nutty psychiatrist. She has a governess--a smarmy, malicious governess. And the hokey plot involves the kidnapping of Courtney (and ""what's-her-name,"" Jan) by the psychiatrist and the governess, his lady-love, so that he can meet Courtney's movie-star mother and get her to read a play he's written. A truly idiotic story--except for kids who swallow that wowed-Jan/weirdo-Courtney hook.