This is a story about the painful relationships of four young people in high school. The principal character is a black girl, Talley, who befriends a white girl, Didi. They meet through the school's running team. Brought up strictly, Talley has had no experience with sex or drugs. Didi is familiar with both—she spends most all of her time with Roady, her drug addict boyfriend.
When Talley visits them in Roady's apartment, she encounters David, a charismatic, white, drug pusher. Unsuspecting Talley becomes romantically involved with him. She is overwhelmed by this relationship, its physical aspects, its emotional turbulence, and its moral dilemmas. In the end, Talley is still infatuated with David, but she has recognized him for what he is and has accepted a date with Victor, her black admirer.