In the lazy days of summer in a California coastal town, Drew works at her mom’s struggling cheese shop and indulges her crush on an older co-worker, until she discovers Emmett and becomes involved in his very different world.
Drew and her mother have been a team for all the years since her father died, with pet rat Humboldt Fog as a companion. Thirteen-year-old Drew finally begins to separate and grow into her own person in this crucial summer. When mysterious, romantic Emmett appears, Drew finds herself holding her breath till she sees him and summing up her day as just "fine" to her mother. Emmett is on his own, and Drew (or Birdie, as her mother calls her) finds herself questioning her values and making new friends as she grows closer to him. This is not drastic or world-changing but a natural emergence of independence. Drew’s journey into self-knowledge unfolds in a lucid voice that is thoughtful and entertaining without being showy. Emmett’s history is painful but not unlikely or shocking. There is a hint throughout of being a step removed that balances the immediacy of the events being related and the power of hindsight. Drew and Emmett’s ultimate quest for a miracle and the unquestioning belief in the magic needed for it adds just that touch of innocence and naiveté that is needed to make the ending poignant.Quiet yet immensely appealing. (Fiction. 10-14)