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Sweet if thin, Williams's first novel centers on fish-out-of-water Annie MacRae, furious because her parents have moved the family from Connecticut to her father's hometown of Beaufort, Ala., just before her senior year. Even worse, her grandmother insists she make her social debut at the Magnolia Ball-or forget about having her college tuition paid. With the conflict set, the story devolves into one stereotype after another: the South is a land of two first names, tractor pulls, football and okra; the North is full of cynics who lack manners and respect for others. Occasionally the culture clash is funny: when Annie asks what a Moon Pie is, her new friend Mary Katherine squeals, "Only the sweetest little bit of prepackaged heaven you'll ever put in your mouth!" But however much Annie complains about debutante rituals, Williams's enthusiasm for them is obvious; she goes heavy on the parties, charity work and rewards of etiquette, and skates across the elitist and discriminatory practices. (Annie's Jewish mother's discomfort is mentioned but quickly dropped.) Readers won't come to this book looking for realism, though, and they'll leave with what they came for-a very happy ending. Ages 12-up. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.