In 1944, Lily's eagerly awaited summer vacation becomes a time of anxiety when her widower father, Poppy, announces that he's off to Europe with the US Army Corps of Engineers. Lily's lonely in Rockaway with both her father and her summer friend, Margaret, gone, until she meets an orphan from Budapest living temporarily with her grandmother's neighbor. At first she responds coldly to Albert, but is soon drawn to him by his awkward dignity and his tragic tale of dead parents and ill sister, Ruth, left behind in France. As they care for an abandoned kitten together and wistfully watch ships passing on the horizon, a solid friendship develops, and by the time they part, Lily and Albert have helped each other through difficult times. Much of the plot, characters, and premise is conventional, but Gift (Shark in School, 1994, etc.) really pulls readers' heartstrings with Albert's memories of his family, the loss of Margaret's well-liked brother in the war, and Lily's joyful reunion with Poppy. Pull out the hankies for the final scene, in which Lily returns to Rockaway the following summer to find Albert--and Ruth--waiting for her. It's a strong ending to a deftly told story.