Emily, 14, last seen in Rubin's Emily Good as Gold (1993), has fallen in love with a ""regular"" boy named Hunt, and is afraid that he'll find out she's ""different""--retarded. Her friend, Molly, reports that boys like girls who are honest and sincere, but it's hard for Emily, in her first year in a mainstream school, to tell the truth to someone who smiles at her the way Hunt does. Molly's route to ""normal"" is by reading Seventeen faithfully, putting together the right clothes and makeup, and holding her and Emily's first boy-girl party. When it backfires, Emily's feelings get hurt, but other problems are mounting, too: She has to juggle a job and a date with Hunt, and suffers new worries about her brother and sister-in-law's move, old worries about standing up to her overprotective parents, and guilt that she has treated another special student, Donny, as meanly as others have treated her. Rubin gets inside Emily, allowing readers to see things through her eyes, and, in the first-person narration, to grasp her frustration at being slow. Emily may be somewhat literal-minded, but she's bristling with spunk. A surprisingly sweet, unusual story of first love.