When Laurel first sees Dan at the start of their senior year in high school he is a bronzed, blond god with a kind face and sweet manner. But disappointment and circumstance conspire to change Dan into something quite different. He's unable to make the swim team because, the coach informs him, although his time is good, the team needs to recruit minorities. When the same thing happens when he looks for a job, Dan becomes understandably frustrated. Living in a tiny, two-bedroom apartment with his irritable mother and two older sisters doesn't help. The only positive element in his life is Laurel, eldest daughter of a large, loving Catholic family and the love of Dan's life. But when Dan accidently falls in with a group of skinheads, and becomes a skinhead himself, he loses Laurel as well. Dan never truly believes all the white-supremacist tripe spouted by his friends, but he finds acceptance with them, and excitement, and the illusion of control -- until his life gets out of control. Then Dan must rehabilitate himself and face the consequences of his unconscionable actions. Although Dan's transformation is abrupt and a bit contrived, Ruby (Miriam's Well, 1993, etc.) portrays skinhead culture and racial hatred with terrifying clarity in this well-written novel.