4.5 stars. I couldn't find the copy of the book I have, which is apparently an original hardback from 1966, but I suppose it doesn't matter regarding the review.
I was really surprised by this book. The only things I had previously read by the author were the whole Lonesome Dove series and Boone's Lick. The way it started made me think it was rather amateurishly (hope that's a word) written, and when I looked at the publishing date I saw that it was indeed one of his earlier books, but that feeling quickly left me and I really got into the story. It's about a small town in Texas, back in the fifties I think, mostly focussed around one high school senior, but there are plenty of (original, well-drawn) characters. There really is not much plot, and it basically just gives a good picture about how life in such a place and time would have been. It seems like a "wholesome" story in the way it's told, but there are plenty of things that aren't quite wholesome in it, including drinking, fighting, "underage" sex, adultery, bestiality, and general "depraved" behaviour. Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable story with sympathetic characters and "real" (sorry for all the quotation marks) problems, and it has made me want to eventually read all of the author's books. Highly recommended.