Two complementary stories, sentimental in concept but imbued with Tate's powers of evocation. The first deals with 13-year-old Luke, whose closest friend is a blind old newspaper seller, and who spends all his care and free time on a small flower garden. At the very start Tate hints of disaster and establishes a regretful tone, and as it comes to pass Luke's distribution of roses from the garden to his class at school leads to harassment, a gang beating, and Luke's death. In the second story Simon's family is moved from their condemned small house to an apartment, and Gramps, who lives with them, wastes away without a space for his workbench and tools. In a way, Simon's arranging to set Gramps up in the nice super's boiler room makes for an untrue-to-life happy ending, whereas Luke's death in the early story seems disproportionately tragic. Tate's low key calls for more muted endings. Still her characters (especially Luke) maintain a gentle hold on readers.