Bechard makes a promising debut in this farcical tale of sibling rivalry. Tess Anderson, already groaning under her older sister Jane's entrance into adolescence, is further weighed down by her science teacher's assignment: Phoenix Guber, class nerd, is to be her partner for a science report. On Saturday morning, he arrives laden with books and a barn owl's regurgitated pellet. But Jane's merciless teasing gives him a better idea for a topic: a typical teen-ager. Tess and Phoenix spend the day spying on Jane--but learn more about themselves. In the end, Tess is on a better footing with both Jane and Phoenix, with whom she's studying barn owls from a whole new viewpoint. Despite the pat conclusion, Bechard's characters are drawn with brisk, humorous strokes, and she has a Fine hand for amusing dialogue and description. Thoroughly enjoyable.