Unpopular seventh-grader Mary Reilly has her problems, the least of which is a crush on her science teacher; but with her determination and talent for words she will no doubt justify that teacher's ""sublime faith"" in her. It's her pretty 17-year-old sister Sue Ellen who really worries Mary. Their ambitious mother's dream of taking Sue Ellen ""on the road"" as a performer collapses during 1932's ""hard times,"" and now Sue Ellen is fired from the five-and-dime for ""passing"" merchandise to her mother. Hounded to pay her way at home, Sue Ellen enters a dance marathon, partnered by fast-talking ex-vaudevillian Harry Rawson. Sue Ellen has already made one token suicide attempt, and when Harry dumps her for a winning partner near the end of the three-week ordeal, she tries again and succeeds. But you won't feel anything for Sue Ellen because Ames' shallow characterization makes her little more than a paper doll. The mother, too, is a gross stereotype, though her monstrous nature gives her a little more impact. The whole story, though painlessly readable, is too thin and superficial to be affecting.