You can always count on Oates for a story of morbid intensity. In her third book for young adults, this brilliant, twisted author explores a boy's growing sexuality, an incident with a teacher and the truth as a matter of life and death.

Darren teeters on the edge of the cool crowd, but he's still accepted as one of them. He's on the swimming and diving teams and is a quiet, unassuming junior. His world will change forever when his English teacher, Mr. Tracy, gives him a ride home.

Before long, Mr. Tracy is accused by students of a horrible crime, and although Darren tries to distance him- self from the accusations, he can't forget what did—or didn't—happen the night his teacher drove him home.

Oates has a style all her own, but her themes are always dark and complex. She leaves it up to the reader to decide what happened on that ride. Oates once again has written a compelling book that stands above most young adult literature. (Feb., 272 pp., $16.99)
Reviewed by: 
Taylor Morris