Virginia Euwer Wolff. S & S/ Atheneum, $18 ISBN 0-689-82827-6

Eight years after the publication of her groundbreaking Make Lemonade, Wolff has surpassed herself with this sequel. LaVaughn once again narrates in blank verse, but turns from Jolly's story (the unwed mother for whom she babysat) to her own. Characters who stood on the periphery in Make Lemonade come to the fore here, especially LaVaughn's mother and LaVaughn's two best friends, Myrtle and Annie. Opening as the heroine embarks on 10th grade, the novel immediately introduces one of the pivotal issues of puberty: "Me and Myrtle & Annie,/ we all want to save our bodies for our right husband/ when he comes along./.../ There is several ways to do this saving." Myrtle and Annie opt for "Cross Your Legs for Jesus," a religious group with a narrowly prescribed outline for getting into heaven. With her characteristic intuition and wisdom, LaVaughn decides against this path ("It seems like a good idea at first./ But it doesn't feel right/ when I think about it"), and thus begins her solo journey to her own idea of faith. Along the way, the protagonist continues working toward college (with the support of her mother and some model teachers), falls in love, makes new friends and finds a vocation. With delicacy and sensitivity, Wolff examines the tensions that grow out of LaVaughn's decision to improve herself while leaving others behind, her choice to forgive in the face of Myrtle and Annie's intolerance, and her ability to trust despite a dangerous world. In delving into LaVaughn's life, Wolff unmasks the secret thoughts adolescents hold sacred and, in so doing, lets her readers know they are not alone. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)BOOK OF SHADOWS; THE COVEN

Cate Tiernan. Puffin, paper $4.99 each (192p) ISBN 0-14-131046-4; -131047-2

This delectably dark pair of novels, first in the Sweep series, brings a supernatural spin to classic teen issues-popularity, romance, alienation and the search for self. Narrator Morgan, a high school junior in upstate New York, feels plain and ordinary, especially next to her flirty, drop-dead-gorgeous friend Bree. When Cal, a remarkably poised and handsome senior, transfers to their school, Morgan likes him almost immediately, an attraction she hides when Bree announces that she plans to win him for herself. Cal makes no secret of his belief in Wicca, inviting most of the junior and senior classes to join him in a Wiccan celebration. The rituals powerfully affect Morgan-could it be that she, like Cal, is a "blood witch" (a descendant of one of the seven great witch clans)? But how could she be a blood witch when everyone else in her family is so clearly not "magickal"? While Tiernan's ingredients are familiar, she stirs the cauldron with engaging, even cinematic, prose and sharply individuates her characters. She introduces the Wiccan material with some depth as well as with a skillful degree of ambiguity; readers will not know immediately whether or not the series embraces Wicca. Both books end on cliffhangers (Shadows, for example, closes as Cal kisses Morgan, in full view of Bree and the rest of their newly formed coven), fanning what will surely be an already keen desire to learn the whole story. Ages 12-up. (Jan.)