If you were always moving, with never a chance to belong, wouldn't you give away a bake-shop cookie to make a new friend? Of course--but breaking proprietor Aunt Friedl's heartless rule is only the first of tall, insecure 13-year-old Miranda's troubled attempts to be ""in."" The opening is classmate Hal Olin's campaign for chairman of the eighth-grade activities committee: he's actually asked for her support! And Hal, though short and stocky, is a budding Casanova and a full-blown super-salesman--just like her vain, self-deceiving father, Miranda will discover when it's almost too late. The conspiratorial campaign doings mirror some higher-level dirty tricks, and Miranda's increasing embroilment will have youngsters writhing in sympathetic horror--up to the point, probably, that she's persuaded to steal the opposing candidate's pocketbook for a preview of her assembly speech. Then, of course, Miranda repents; but it takes a secret shame of upright Aunt Friedl's (baker ""Uncle"" Heinrich wasn't really her brother) to solve Miranda's twin problems of shedding a high-risk family and making some genuine friends. Scene by scene--in the Little Vienna Bake Shop, at strained family gatherings and buzz-buzz teenage parties--the emotional undercurrents keep this very much alive. But it does go off the deep end before the close.