Colm, whose parents have recently separated, is forced to spend the summer with his mother and much younger siblings at their lakeside summer cottage. There he finds a job, challenges himself to swim across the lake, reestablishes his friendship with two girls--Carmella and Marlene--who have matured (in his view) suddenly, attempts to mend his relationship with his father, and figures out life's rules, the last of which is ""There are no rules."" In spite of this less-than-profound discovery, Many succeeds in making a teenager's self-centered perspective perfectly natural. In the glib first-person narration, summering on the lakefront actually sounds like a trial, Colm's mother and siblings are virtually nonexistent, and his father is just a garden-variety, rule-spouting, overbearing adversary. It won't take readers long to figure out which girl suits Colin more, but his own oblivion is completely credible. As he stumbles through summer, Colm changes from being his own worst enemy to assembling some focus and self-esteem; despite some contrived and unnecessary drama near the end, this is a realistic and absorbing novel.