The Clan, as the clique is called, is a highly nontraditional gang. While they disavow participation in school, these enigmatic boys don't believe in drugs or violence, and are advocates of self-education--older members tutor younger apprentices in everything from car mechanics to Latin. But the comfort and acceptance of the Clan is no longer enough for Thomas, or "Baby," as he is known by his family. Baby wants to be more than just a mechanic like his domineering older brother, so he breaks rank from his peers and takes an aptitude test at school. Once the administrators are aware of Baby's intelligence, the principal pairs him with honor student Casey Willardson to help him catch up in the gifted program. As the two work together--dark, handsome rebel and beautiful, popular schoolgirl--the preconceptions and misunderstandings they have about each other are slowly stripped away. They quickly become close and learn to trust and even love each other. But Baby and Casey discover that even though they don't care about superficial differences, their friends do. Their relationship provokes a showdown between the Clan and the varsity football team that promises to end in disaster.
In a tale reminiscent in many ways of The Outsiders, West Side Story, and, most obviously, Romeo and Juliet, Kristen D. Randle nevertheless gives new life to an old story line with her detailed description of the Clan's structure and how the group comes into conflict with the regimented social hierarchy of high school. Readers will appreciate the realism and intelligence of this novel, and may also learn a lesson in peer pressure and independent thinking.
This was a pretty good book, but I felt it was very predictable. I did not really like either of the main characters, which really hurts liking a story. I thought the idea of the separate society was interesting, but not very well explained. The problems were resolved way too easily to really be believable. And I really, really hated how preachy she seemed to be about sex.
I do like how she tries to get into her character's heads, but thought this book felt rushed and unfinished. If you want to read a really good book by her, please pick up "The Only Alien on the Planet" which was a fantastic story.