ASIN B0007E2FKW - Every reference to this book that I could find online seems to indicate it's considered something of a classic - and yet, there are no reviews! Odd. Still, with a title like The Loser, maybe it's just not attracting the right readers.
Deidre, aka Deitz, is a typical good girl of her day. Written in the early 1960s, the book contains little or no direct reference to the sort of "beatnik" culture that typifies the decade, so I'm sticking with the '50s, early '60s as a guess for "her day". Deitz is an "Organization Kid" and dates another "Organization Kid" - dedicated to pursuing the suburban dream, focused on sports and an Ivy League future. Denny Hawks is far from an Organization Kid. He talks about philosophy, and art and he enjoys the seamier side of town, and something happens to Deitz when she's with him: she begins to see a larger world, one outside her very organized life.
The trouble is, Deitz is the only one who sees something special in Denny. Everyone else calls him a loser, and even her parents aren't happy about them spending time together. Deitz knows that Denny's home life is terrible and his parents don't care about him... until the last night she ever sees him, when a lot of truths come to light.
The book is not really well written, and even seems a bit vague at times, but the story - particularly for the time period - is such an interesting look at suburban life just before it came under fire from the hippy culture that Denny and his friends seem to be early participants in. Deitz and her sister both learn a lot from their friendship with Denny, but you're sort of left wondering how the most turbulent decade in this country's recent history played out for the suddenly aware young girls. Not a book I expect most young adults (the target audience) to enjoy as much as adults might and some adults might only enjoy it for the nostalgia factor. Good, not great, and not quite the caliber I was expecting from a book that the internet tells me was a phenom in its time.