Blume's latest novel begins like many of her personalized, single-problem scenarios, with 15-year-old Davey's father shot to death by robbers at his 7-Eleven store in Atlantic City. Davey can't function for weeks, and it is largely for her that her emotionally and financially stranded mother accepts shelter in Los Alamos with kind Aunt Bitsy and her physicist-husband Walter. Once there, Davey's outsider reactions to Bitsy, Walter, and Los Alamos add dimension to her grief and her recovery. True, we experience no culture shock too strong for Blume's smooth readability; there is nothing subtle about the irony of Bomb City's bland security and weapons designer Waiter's overprotective posture; and Waiter's elitist ugliness is overdone in one violent confrontation with Davey. Also, Davey's chaste but warm relationship with a nice young man she meets in the canyon, plus the coincidence of his father's dying at the hospital where Davey volunteers as a candy-striper, are on the cute romantic level. Nevertheless Davey's lonely struggle to come to terms with the killing, her everyday conflicts with her well-meaning but aggravating aunt and uncle, her impatience with her mother, who finally breaks down and then withdraws from the family, her scorn for the "nerd" physicist Mom dates on her way to recovery, her concern for a high-status but alcoholic school friend, and her assessment of the social structure at the Los Alamos high school--all this takes on a poignancy and a visible edge we wouldn't see had Davey (or Blume) remained in New Jersey.