Martin's first novel focuses on details that make settings vibrant and bring characters to life as a young girl attempts to keep her family together. Rainie Marie, 12, has been forced to care for her five younger siblings, at her home and at the homes of the various relatives to which the children are shipped (their ""travels"") whenever their mother's bouts of depression become serious. This time they are at Great-Gran's, and while the children love the old woman, Rainie Marie wants to be home, no matter how rocky it gets. When Great-Gran is hospitalized, the children's domineering Aunt Castina plans to split them up among the rest of the relatives permanently, but Rainie Marie is just as determined to keep the family whole. The children's journey, replete with train stations and schedules, is vivid and realistic, and readers attempting to tell the siblings apart will be aided by the presence of each child's signature object. The story is headed in a grim direction when Rainie takes charge again; her gains appear temporary, but her perseverance is admirable. The only quibble may be that the adults are either weak to a fault or pushy in the extreme--not quite two-dimensional, but close.