Raised in suburban tranquility, young Angela is naturally a heap confused when one day Daddy leaves a note to say that he's off to Singapore and a new life as a seaman. So, from that day on, she keeps trying to get back on course. Her attempts are genial--and first-novelist Abrams helps them along considerably by writing with a vivacity that's marred only by her leaden philosophical chapter lead-ins. Angela goes to boarding school, while her mom becomes a book editor and her older brother a paratrooper. Then college, bringing with it a first heterosexual love affair--a first homosexual one, too. And Angela's first post-school job is selling photolettering to magazines and ad agencies; but she's a flop at this and soon fired--in what is perhaps the book's best scene. (Her boss is young and female, and the dialogue between them is sad, affectionate, and understanding, ringing very true.) Nothing new here--and the lack of substance or point sometimes annoys--but a certain freshness of manner distinguishes this from a hundred other first-stabs-at-adulthood novels. If Abrams comes up, next time, with a bit more purpose, she could be dynamite.