On the Avenue in the bleak area where New York City blends into suburbia, the Orphans, their fast Fords and their Chevys "coated by ice and leather and white dust", prepare to engage in deadly, intricately structured games of combat. It is a world of grotesque, horrifying violence, fear, bravado and drugs, redeemed in the minds of its inhabitants by codes of honour, by chivalrous intentions and by the purity of their struggle for power, dominance, territory.
Here, Hoffman introduces us to "the Property of the Orphans" - sullen, sultry, tough girls who belong to the boys on the Avenue, and a lonely, infatuated 17-year-old outsider who falls helplessly in love with McKay, the gang's 22-year-old brooding, fearless leader. She will discover what can, and cannot, be possessed - and what can happen when you hand your heart over to a man who claims to care nothing about love.
Their doomed love story is told in desperate counterpoint to the punk lyrical flippancies of throbbing car radios and jukes.