A down-to-earth love story with a feisty, punk-feminist, lesbian twist. It's the 1980s. Think Sex Pistols, safety pins, Doc Marten boots, and blue hair. Melany embraces punk, a sound as discordant as she feels--shocking, offensive, ``fuck-you music.'' At 17, longing to escape high school, Melany passes the California Proficiency Exam and enrolls in college as an English major. There she suffers through American Lit, wondering ``why these straight white guys who could afford to fuck their way through Europe were so angry,'' meets fellow punk, like-minded English major Patti, who becomes her best friend, and falls hard for a woman named Iso. At first, Melany feels conflicted about the sexual identity thing, worrying that she'll lose it in poetry class and let slip that she slept with a woman the night before when she means to comment on iambic pentameter. She also wonders how she could be a lesbian when ``women's music'' like that of Holly Near gives her a headache. Iso doesn't want the hassle, so she moves on to someone else, but in the meantime, the lesbian teacher in one of Melany's Women's Lit courses becomes a confidante and role model. She tries getting over Iso, but, arguments from Patti and Iso's own sister (a sweet 14-year-old punker with whom Melany bonds immediately) notwithstanding, she still finds herself heartbroken. When Patti comes out, despite a long discussion about why they should keep things platonic, Patti and Melany become lovers. The two maintain a long-distance relationship when Patti goes to grad school in New York and Melany goes to D.C., but, after four years, they decide to go back to being pals. Soon Iso arrives on the scene to break Melany's heart once more--only this time, the most unlikely person arrives to pick up the pieces. A unique voice and wry takes on feminism, sexuality, political correctness, and punk music make this startlingly sweet, albeit not too deep, debut a standout.