Gen-X debutante Adelaide Piper has an itch in her soul to leave Williamstown, SC and become a poet. Nathaniel Buxton University, an elite liberal arts college in Virginia, represents her ticket to freedom. But freshman life at NBU falls woefully short of Adelaide's expectations. Frat parties turn into drunken brawls, a hazing incident ends with tragic consequences, and Adelaide's date with the charming Devon Hunt culminates in rape. Up to this point, the novel reads like an absorbing coming-of-age story featuring a lively, independent main character. Then Adelaide experiences an abrupt and rather unconvincing religious conversion. Her newfound spiritual strength isn't always well integrated into a plot that includes helping a friend battle an eating disorder and consoling another friend following an abortion. Two years after her own unreported rape, Aelaide intervenes in a younger girl's sexual assault, thereafter leading a campus crusade to end date rape. The political agenda, combined with the Christian slant, becomes heavy-handed at times. Despite its limited appeal for non-religious teens, compelling characters combined with the realistic portrayal of college life and of the debutante tradition make this novel worth the purchase, particularly for church groups, and may spur group discussion about the perils of date rape. KLIATT Codes: SRecommended for senior high school students. 2006, WestBow Press, Thomas Nelson, 320p., Ages 15 to 18.