Seventeen stories, of particular interest because of the high quality of their writing as well as for their diverse insights into growing up black. Most take place in the US, though Australia, Africa, Britain, and the Caribbean are also represented. Except for John Henrik Clarke's ""The Boy Who Painted Christ Black"" (1940) and two stories from the 60's, most are recent, and originally appeared in small magazines or story collections. As the title suggests, the theme is turning points in coming of age; the experiences are often colored by racism and -- even more -- by poverty, but such universal concerns don't overwhelm the individuality of, say, a young South African's first foray into proving himself to his peers (""The Test,"" by Njabulo Ndebele); a young American's ""wild contrition,"" in Eugenia Collier's ""Marigolds,"" after she has perversely protested the ugliness in her life by destroying a rare spot of beauty; or, in Howard Gordon's 1993 story, a bookish youth's abiding chagrin at learning that ""My Lucy,"" the girl he's idolized, is known for her promiscuity. A rich and rewarding assortment. Notes on the authors.