Gun club, basketball team, doting parents, camping trips with good friend Doug, a lovely girl he can't believe chose him: ""It had seemed as if high school was going to be a great and golden time."" Then Mike faints on the basketball court, is hospitalized for what they tell him is ""some kind of anemia,"" and eventually discovers that he is suffering from leukemia. All this--with the disappointment of missing a long-planned hunting trip, the pain and dismal consequences of treatment, the early loss of his shallow girlfriend, and the struggles to talk straight with his evasive parents--is recalled now on a wilderness weekend when Mike steals off alone. He's determined to get the buck he missed out on a year earlier and knows his parents won't allow such outings, even though he's in remission and the doctor sides with Mike. Between memories, he sets up camp, savors his meals, thinks his way through a snowstorm that erases his trail back to camp, stalks and sights his buck--a heart-stopping, trophy-quality rive pointer, and stands ready to pull the trigger. . . . Mike's moment of truth and acceptance, then, may be a standard fictional resolution, but it isn't arbitrary. Hughes puts across the emotional currents of Mike's experiences; and she integrates the hunt, the remembered fear and resistance and frustrations, and the ultimate release, so that each part reinforces the others.