A close seventh-grade friendship--faithfully recorded with an emphasis on the intense feelings of prickly, possessive Whitney. The two girls become friends when Whitney's much-transferred father is sent back to a previous location. Whitney's old friend Charlotte has changed; but through Charlotte, Whitney takes up with Robin, whom she barely knew her first time in town. A year later, Robin's father is transferred, and they part. The intervening period is filled with testing, fights, challenges, edgy exchanges, a pact of eternal friendship signed in blood and buried underground, an exchange of rings, airily denied hurt feelings, jealousy on Whitney's part when Robin goes out with a boy or spends time with Charlotte, a bike ride to a forbidden hilltop (the secret place) where Whitney uneasily submits to Robin's insistence that they strip and ""sun in the raw,"" and a petulant parting when Whitney refuses to watch the moving van load with Robin and Charlotte. The incidents and the emotional tone ring true, and there is considerable authentic-sounding everyday dialogue--which hasn't much charge, but keeps the pages turning despite the absence of plot development or rising involvement.