Sixteen-year-old Maggie tells of her reluctant discovery of her popular minister father's secret life--and what happens when the community makes the same discovery. Maggie has always believed that her family, unlike her friends', is problem free; but she comes to realize that her parents relate impersonally, her mother having ""pulled away"" emotionally because of her husband's pattern of affairs. During the period that Maggie is confronted with evidence of her father's current affair--as well as his ease in lying and his maddening need to charm and dominate everyone, including Maggie (who bluntly refuses to be charmed)--she avoids the unpleasantness by slipping off to conduct an odd, flat affair of her own with a motorcycle-driving pickup who shows little emotion and doesn't press her for commitment or conversation. Meanwhile her father's deceit comes to a head when he installs his paramour, an emotionally-troubled woman, to advise the church youth group. The kids press for another candidate to no avail, and finally one of the girls, catching on, starts the ""rumor"" that leads ultimately to the minister's suicide. All this involves much petty squabbling over who advises the youth group--which seems to consist of about five or six kids, including Maggie--and makes the already thin story seem more shallow and trivial than ever. As such smooth accounts go, however, this is believable, both in general and in unfolding detail; and Maggie asserts herself as a sympathetic character, never more so than when she's resisting both her father's charm and, in a neat parallel, the similar conquest-seeking, smiling imposition of a popular male teacher.