The powerful, evocative story of an 11-year-old who journeys with his older brother through the Dust Bowl of Texas and Oklahoma during the Depression. Blue knows that big brother Monroe will set out after the alluring Starr girls, who have moved to California, and when a freight train passes through town, Blue is ready. The two boys head West through harrowing poverty, dust storms, and a blood curdling encounter with the Ku Klux Klan. Depression hardships are a grim background for the journey, but love, loyalty and Blue's unsullied vision transcend the harsh surroundings. As narrator, Blue's voice is fresh and unsentimental. His subtle humor and sharp observations draw the reader into the story. The colloquial language is natural and unobtrusive, its perfectly chosen words creating a gentle rhythm. Characterization is vivid, structure superb. Will be popular for its action, but it deserves recognition for its excellent craftsmanship and the beauty of its voice.