The author of The Gathering Room presents another interesting, off-center novel for middle graders. Sarey lives on Assateague Island during the 1880's. When her father is killed on duty while attempting to rescue passengers of a wrecked ship, Sarey is distraught. Sarey's stepmother takes in Faith, the sole survivor, whom Sarey blames for being saved at the cost of her father's life. There begins a summer-long battle as Sarey attempts to get rid of Faith; at the climax of the story, she tries to get a snobbish, childless visiting couple to take her home with them. When this fails, Sarey's humiliation and anger overwhelm her and she attacks Faith with the fury of her accumulated resentment. As a result, Faith tries to drown herself; Sarey, in rescuing her, conquers both a fear of the ocean and her own feelings. Told in Sarey's nine-year-old voice, the style employs the spoken rhythms of her time and place. The plot is predictable, as are many of the small-town characterizations. The virtues of the book lie in the evocative economy of its style and Sarey's strong, believable narration. A middling effort.