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Prose offers a nuanced meditation on how stories of abuse can confuse and obscure the truth. When Maisie returns to her father and stepmother's home after a year living with her mother, she reunites with three childhood friends, Shakes, Chris and Kevin. But things are different. It is the summer before high school, one of them has a girlfriend and they all notice Maisie's newly developed breasts. It is Shakes, who has a mild palsy, whose devotion not only remains but grows into a relationship that is tenderly described ("It sometimes felt we were-like two halves of the same creature," Maisie thinks). But this friendship is shattered when the boys take physical advantage of Maisie. The incident spirals out of control through rumors, bullying and a complaint filed by Maisie's overzealous stepmother. A therapist helps Maisie unravel the many versions of the story and come to terms with the truth, that the "period of grace" with her best friend is over, that his courage has limits. Prose's (Bullyville) adept narration and shunning of easy answers will hold readers' interest. Ages 14-up. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.