High school as a microcosm of organized society, and two big lessons back-to-back: power corrupts, and silence means consent. Six seniors who start out as good friends with good intentions and good ideas succeed in taking over the school; along the way, planning becomes conspiracy--""collusion,"" a columnist hints--and outright fraud. The kids stop having fun and start sniping at each other; a couple begin to doubt but go along for the sake of loyalty. A really dirty scheme to get the columnist who suspects them backfires only when Beaver, the brains, overreaches, and Doc, the narrator, reacts, There's no tidy repentance, only two boys who know a little better, who might take a stand sooner the next time. Mr. Huntsberry sets up his situation immediately and sticks with it, and he lets the kids speak for themselves; the result is a fast-paced story, moral without moralizing.