This regulation runaway story has 16-year-old Tom Carpenter, who's had a little trouble at home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, split for New York on his spring vacation in pursuit of his girlfriend Kathy, who has run away from her churchy mother's beatings. Tom heads straight for his writer Aunt Maggie's, and she immediately calls for his mother's okay. (But they still don't know that he plans to take off with Kathy instead of returning home.) Tom's search takes him to runaway shelters and the run-away police unit at the bus station, and also to Times Square and Bryant Park, which seem incredibly raunchy to blushing Tom and dangerous to the companionable but nervously protective Maggie. For a while, and for a fee, Tom is escorted around by a street-wise but hopeless ex-junkie and would-be writer who sees Tom and his search as ""material."" Finally, with Maggie and her out-of-town boyfriend at posh Windows on the World, Tom sees Kathy dining with a man--and she'll have nothing to do with Tom. Readers will know how she got there, for her story has been interspersed in italicized snatches. In the end, Kathy is heading for trouble and Tom returns to Ann Arbor a little wiser and a lot closer to Aunt Maggie. Their relationship is the most likable element in the novel. Kathy's story is pure tripe, and the sleazy scenes of Tom's odyssey are merely lurid local color that never really encroach on his innocence.