These consistently superb stories focus on Asian-American youths, but the messages and feelings described are universal. The themes are generation gaps, identity crises, displacement. In the first of the ten stories, ""Blonde,"" Katherine Min's young narrator faces all three of these when she longs to become blond like her beautiful white classmate and her Barbie doll, much to the amusement of her proud Asian parents. Lan Samantha Chang's outstanding ""Housepainting"" deals specifically with the plight of the ""dutiful"" Chinese-American daughters of traditional parents. In ""Summer of My Korean Soldier,"" Marie G. Lee's heroine has a double identity crisis: She's uncomfortable with her adoptive white parents, but she can't find her place in Korea, either. Mary F. Chen's ""Knuckles"" is about a girl who won't eat her Taiwanese mother's food, which she finds disgusting, and lives on candy until the dentist must pull out all her teeth. The lack of understanding between mother and daughter that Chen portrays is frustrating and tragic. A savvy and poignant collection from Carlson (Cool Salsa, p. 979, etc.).