Being thirteen is happy, sad, humiliating, surprising, wonderful, awful, exciting, boring -- in other words, full of ups and downs. The thirteen-year-olds in Gary Soto's thirteen stories experience all this and more. In one story, a girl's world is turned upside down when she visits a college campus where she expects to find a rarified atmosphere of intellectual pursuit, only to meet a tour guide who is tattooed, overly pierced, hungover, and not at all focused on academics. In another, two girls test the attraction of their new bodies by flirting with boys at a mall and then find themselves in an uncomfortable and somewhat frightening situation. The stories in this book are about family relationships, friendships, self-worth, and questions of integrity.