A rigid adherence to the flashback form of storytelling hardly diminishes this tale of a mathematically gifted student's unplanned confrontation with his nemesis. Daniel, nicknamed Weirdo, is trapped in a cave with one of his tormentors, Tozer, and their injured and unconscious teacher, Mr. Axelmann. As they await rescue, Daniel recalls his life as the object of resentment and misunderstandings, and the series of incidents that led him to the Combe Warren Center, where individuals learn to ""work as a valuable member of the team,"" for spring break. As the cave begins to flood, Daniel and Tozer seek a way out and attempt to save Mr. Axelmann, whose hostility toward Daniel has been well-chronicled in the flashbacks. The boys survive, coming not to friendship, but to an uneasy understanding. Chapters often end with self-conscious references to the next flashback, making the structure awkward and forced. Otherwise, this portrait of the wretched life of a gifted loner is clear and gripping, and the ending, in which Tozer returns to the friends responsible for his and Daniel's entrapment, is sadly realistic.