The book (written in 1991 but set in the '70s, and thus appealingly including items of clothing like daishikis and bell-bottoms) follows Janet, a prospective English major who loves children's books, through her freshman year and beyond, into an entanglement with the supernatural and fairy-like... Classics majors. It's obvious Dean has tremendous affection for people who love books - the opening of the first chapter, in fact, is dedicated to a description of the dorm room bookshelves:
"The year Janet started at Blackstock College, the Office of Residential Life had spent the summer removing from all the dormitories the old wooden bookcases that, once filled with books, fell over unless wedged. Chase and Phillips's A New Introduction to Greek was the favorite instrument for wedging; majors in the Classics used the remedial math textbook, but this caused the cases to develop a slight backward tilt, so that doughnuts, pens, student identification cards, or concert tickets placed on top of them slid with indistinguishable slowness backward and eventually vanished dustily behind. The generally harried air of most Classics majors was attributed by their friends and roommates entirely to their reliance on an inferior wedging system for their bookcases."Janet herself demonstrates what is known in book-heroine speak as "pluck" in praiseworthy amounts.