Peter's mother disapproves of Veronica because she's older and a girl and not Jewish, Veronica's mother disapproves of Peter because he is Jewish, but Peter and Veronica are friends--forever: "I swear to God that I'll never forget Veronica Ganz if she dies. And if I do, may I fall down dead!" "And I swear that if Peter Wedemeyer dies first, I'll remember him and make everybody else remember him or may I be struck down dead!" The pledge in the cemetery, Veronica deadly serious, Peter humoring her, is the apotheosis of their accord; life is harsher. Peter, fighting his family up to the last minute, finally gains permission to invite Veronica to his bar mitzvah--and then she doesn't come. Peter is hurt, resentful, outraged; that she is big and clumsy and afraid of parties, that he was thinking of his feelings (of being a hero) rather than of her feelings doesn't get across to him until after a summer that sees a change in Veronica too. What does come across throughout are the horrors of being a short twelve waiting to "shoot up," of having a mother whose pursuit of dust leaves no room for privacy, of plunging into a first evening party with girls. Some of its predecessors in the series have had a higher hilarity quotient but this is actively and acutely--and disarmingly--a boy in a bind.