I really love this book. I like its old-fashioned sensibility, which reminds me of Beverly Cleary's First Love books and the later books in the Betsy-Tacy series. I like that it takes a superficial experience - girls wearing gowns and attending parties in order to mark their entry in society - and turns it into a commentary on class distinctions, stereotypes, and popularity. The main character is not perfect, but she is open to change and willing to compromise, which makes her a worthy and believable role model. Even the romance storylines are handled with a heavy dose of realism - Lynn briefly dates a "bad boy" but the story resists the "good girl reforms bad boy" trope, and ultimately, Lynn is able to resolve her issues with her boyfriend in a calm and rational way, without the hysterics or drama so common in more contemporary YA novels.
High school students would probably find the writing and plot of this book too simplistic, but for grades 6 to 8, it might be just right. It's also a must-read for adults who grew up reading books by Lois Duncan - there's nothing more interesting than looking back on the early works of a favorite author. As a bonus, also read Publisher's Weekly's Q & A with Lois Duncan.