Set in a seaside resort where summer people and winter residents eye each other warily, Asher's latest is an enjoyable, perceptive novel about the joys and consequences of realizing one's dreams, making choices, and fulfilling expectations. The summer contingent includes the novel's hero, thoughtful nice guy Michael, 17, an only child, who has decided not to work in his immigrant father's thriving jewelry business, and Michael's best friend, Buddy, a wisecracking, attractive, well-to-do teen. Over the objections of his protective parents, Michael takes a job as a busboy at the Jolly Mackerel restaurant. He meets beautiful waitress, Linda, 18, and Pete, the cook, a hard-drinking young man and one-time high-school star athlete unable to deal with the larger world, who conceives an irrational hatred for Michael. Linda's determination to study fashion design makes her seem unfriendly at first, but it's Michael she turns to when her friend, Traci, a needy, shy girl, is repeatedly abused by boyfriend Pete, who is convinced Traci is seeing Michael behind his back. After a violent confrontation between Michael and Pete, plus the spilling of some family secrets, Michael's father finally admits that reward without effort is damaging and that he has to let his son make it on his own. Likable, well-conceived characters, humor, and a solid plot smoothly overlay important themes of choice and separation. This one should be popular.