Suzanne and Timothy George adored their newborn son. Nevertheless, they named me Joshua Fortune."" Now Joshua Fortune is 14 and his sister Sara Sunshine eleven; their Haight-Ashbury hippie parents are divorced, with Timothy off seeing the world and Suzanne going straight as a schoolteacher; and the family is moving to Santa Rosa to be near Suzanne's new boyfriend Harley, a redneck toy salesman with biker fantasies who swells up like a frog when he's mad. Or so Joshua sees him, and Joshua sees him mad often. Harley thinks Suzanne lets Joshua get away with murder, and Joshua doesn't miss an opportunity to deliver a smart comeback. Prickly, disaffected, and defensively hostile, Joshua nevertheless becomes friendly with Alexa, a brash, assertive girl who's very much together, and with Alexa's friend Richard, a strange, spunky fat boy who carries his grandmother's picture around in a briefcase and keeps a guillotine in his room. During the course of the story Suzanne and Harley decide to get married and a disgruntled Joshua protests; but a warmer undercurrent creeps into the two males' bickering in time for the finale wedding--a nice backyard affair where Timothy and his new wife put in an unexpected appearance and Suzanne's old Haight-Ashbury friend Swan officiates with a ring in her nose. What gives the story its snap is Joshua's jaundiced narration, which makes for a lot of dry laughs as he rattles off wisecracks and wry observations, but which mellows appropriately as he comes to terms with his father's unreliability and his mother's new marriage.