A lightweight but likable first novel about a boy-girl friendship that survives an unusual amount of sixth-grade silliness about ""love."" Mutual interests have made summer friends of Jason and Beverly, but the return to school brings merciless teasing and a takeover attempt from Dina, who blackmails Jason into pretending to be her willing slave. Bereft, Beverly and friend Doris concoct a potion (emulators will find the ingredients harmless) to slip in Jason's milk; a pompous student teacher, deftly characterized, consumes the milk and seems to fall for Beverly, causing some consternation; but all hinges on a series of funny misunderstandings. The kids discover an embarrassing endearment used by Dina's father and are able to block Dina's threat. Hollands, who has taught elementary grades, has nicely caught this in-between age with its concerns and proscriptions--the ability to believe in science one minute and the efficacy of self-invented potions the next; the daring experiments with heavy makeup and the language of passion, followed quickly by sensible preadolescent friendship. Pleasant entertainment.