Thirteen-year-old Andrea's older sister Elaine is the pretty one, the one through whom Mom would like to relive her youth, but also the one who is driving Mom to distraction with her rotten behavior, which culminates in running away just before Christmas. As Elaine, returned, continues to tie up her parents' attention, solid Andrea gets heavily involved in doing the special effects for the school play--and more mildly, tentatively so with Chris, the boy in charge of the lighting. Then older brother Joe, Andrea's mainstay, is killed driving down from college to see the play, and the family is devastated--but the story to date has been a little too smooth and superficial to accommodate the tragedy. Andrea grieves and begins to recover--Joe always did say she was strong and steady--and in the end we see her coming into her own, viewing her mixed-up but improving sister with sympathy and good wishes while the florist delivers a graduation rose from Chris. Pevsner's handling of Andrea's second-sister status and her growing-up year is par for the unchallenging course; but the brother's death, instead of adding weight to the whole, threatens to swamp it.