Shura casts her usual understanding eye on Polly, 11, whose timorous nature makes it difficult for her to deal with a sudden flurry of changes. As Polly tells the story, there is a major change in her best friend, Staci, whose parents are divorcing: after a summer with her father in California, Staci has become self-consciously sophisticated and distant. In the meantime, an influx of new residents into their small town will force Polly's sixth grade to enter the junior high; and there are tensions at home because of her father's unemployment. Nonetheless, Polly comes through a difficult summer and fall with the help of an elderly neighbor, a new friend, and her own growing courage. Though the author deals simply with her many themes, she creates a satisfying whole with likable characters; the resolution is a bit rosy, but also gratifying, and believable in context.