As she did in Prairie Songs and What I Did for Roman, Conrad deals again with a character who is finally revealed to be profoundly disturbed; here, however, by using Simone as one of two narrators, she takes the reader within the troubled psyche, creating an enriched, more thought-provoking personality. In alternating chapters, Ali and Simone--both 16--describe a summer on Dune Island. Ali's parents are loving but busy: Dad's a novelist, as well as a successful long-term AA attender; Mom's elsewhere, finishing a dissertation. Ali is reluctantly fascinated by Simone, half-derisively called the Princess; beautiful, rich, she seems to have everything--but wants more, especially Ali's friendship. Yet as the summer goes on, Ali begins to see the rot beneath the polished surface: Simone not only has an alcohol-addicted mother, but she is haunted also by a childhood tragedy. When Simone callously steals Ali's hoped-for boyfriend, Ali withdraws; yet she finally has enough courage and compassion to rescue Simone from a near-disaster precipitated by Simone's mother. Although there is much more here that has been well worked over in other YA novels, Conrad's well-rounded characters and skillful style lend fresh insight to the story, which is moving and memorable.