Eliza Bishop is neither dramatically glamorous like her older sister, Rosa, nor endearingly eccentric like her younger sister, Lily. At 15, she's gawky, hates her parents' predictable middle-class existence, and, though desperately tired of being a "good" girl, isn't "daring-wicked" like her best friend, Jo. When she meets Jake, a graduate student boarding with Jo's family, she is captivated by his intellect, his romantic attitudes, and his attentiveness. Jake makes her feel like a new, confident person. He is also a far cry from the loutish blind date Jo arranged for her and from the nice but ordinary "Thomas-from-up-the-road." Her confidence is shattered, however, when she sees Jake embracing Jo and learns that Jo's mother has sent Jake away. Eliza's frustration and insecurity, the heart-pounding rush of her first love, and her anguish at Jake's betrayal are handled in a way that will be hauntingly familiar to many readers, and story tension is increased by Rosa's wedding and Jo's pregnancy. Although the novel takes place in the 1950s in a small English seaside community, there's a timeless quality about the story that will ensure a wide audience.