This book has a tone that I haven't seen for so long--it took me quite a while to figure out what it was. This book was published before 9/11/01 and so, it's tone is very, very insular and un-paranoid. How refreshing. Anyway, an excellent read and how easy it was to sympathise with each of the characters is a testament to the skill of Mr. Tannebaum. I was Lucy when I was her age without the language ability and I've been Marlene and Butch too. Even Sweets has a place in my conscience as does Tran. Please read and redescover what book reading was like before the world descovered Terroism.