This unsparing story of a young Bronx junior high school teacher's dedication to a Puerto Rican delinquent shows how far a woman will go to have a substitute daughter. Margaret, whose husband wants no children, has a problem class of wildly Frank immigrant girls. Natividad Perez thinks nothing of telling Margaret that Mrs. Perez has already broken in Natividad's sister as a prostitute and has told Natividad to get ready to start hustling too. To help the girl, Margaret covers up for her, breaks school rules. Natividad, though she wants to be a teacher, carries marijuana, peddles reefers in the lavatory, makes total love in the school basement and gets pregnant. Surrounding these two are a host of school teachers and officials who have lost all hope of helping the students. When Natividad breaks out of detention and comes to Margaret's apartment for sanctuary; Margaret faces a crisis with her husband and wins him while promising her protection to the girl with long-term aid. The book offers a sensationally stacked deck against the authorities and features endless woman-to-woman confession-style dialogue. Those hairspring girl students, though, are faultlessly cynical and vivid as a curse from lazy, deliberate lips.