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Coleman explores in her underwhelming second novel (after The Accidental Mother) the long-term repercussions of rash, romantic and destructive decisions made in mercurial youth. Growing up, outgoing, attractive Alison James and introverted beauty-who-doesn't-know-it Catherine Ashley were inseparable in the way that only teenage girls can be. That is, until 17-year-old Alison, in a moment of youthful passion, runs off with Catherine's boyfriend, Marc, leaving an emotionally scarred Catherine and a bad reputation in her wake. Sixteen years later, Alison and Marc-now married-move back to the girls' hometown, forcing Alison and Catherine to finally confront their pasts and one other. The book's concept is promising, but clunky dialogue detracts, and the many passages of introspection grow tiresome, repetitive and melodramatic. It's like listening to a romantically inept friend recount the latest relationship woes: it's amusing enough, but after a while you'd like to change the subject. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.