For as long as she can remember, Dina has led a nomadic existence; before she ever has a chance to settle in, her mother--Joyce--always packs her into their van to head for another state and another low-paying job. Now in eighth grade, Dina's need for friends is more insistent. In Montpelier, Vermont, she manages to join the basketball team--only to have her mother veto participation just as she becomes an essential team member. Moving on to Utah, then California, Joyce persists in the familiar pattern of proscribing Dina's activity, though she herself is often absent without explanation at night. The reader gradually becomes aware that there is a mystery here: Joyce's bizarre behavior goes beyond being a footloose, alternately possessive and neglectful parent. In the end, it turns out that she is a fugitive from justice--for a crime that proves surprising when it is finally revealed. Ehrlich, an experienced picture-book author (Zeke Silver Moon), has created in Dina an adaptable, courageous survivor, a character sure to engage readers' sympathies as she struggles for ties to new surroundings and to the boys she's forced to leave behind. There are a few more incidents here than are really needed to establish Joyce's behavior, but the narrative is taut enough to hold attention until its believable, unsentimental conclusion.