Tommy Jordan is a high school senior who has been living with his mother for the last ten years and is now joining his father's new family. His mother has neglected him and Tommy has virtually brought himself up without the aid of a responsible adult. He is used to doing what he pleases without consequence. His new family is made up of the narrator of the story, Howard, and his sister Arlene as well as the mother, Helen.Tommy is no ordinary teenager. He is tall, handsome and personable. People seem to flock to him as though he were a movie star. However, Tommy has a penchant for getting in trouble. He pushes the boundaries of ordinary behavior to the limit much to the frustration of his step-mother and father John. Trouble seems to follow him, but Tommy is untouched by most of it. He is constantly seeking adventure and often finds it, but in finding it, he pays a price.Howard is Tommy's opposite. He is shy around girls and reluctant to do anything he thinks his mother would disapprove of. He is captivated by how Tommy can get his way with girls when he (Howard) has never even had a date. The two boys become fast friends, but Howard is often on the outside looking in. If only he were more like Tommy. His world would be so much more interesting. Tommy becomes his mentor and coaches Howard on how to pick up girls, how to act in front of them and how to become a man about town. Unfortunately, Howard isn't up to the task.