Lucy is an eighth-grade schoolgirl, in French Canada shortly after WW II. Her working-class family has been thrown on hard times by her father's recent death; her older brother, often compared to Lucy as another fine student, died in the war. Now Lucy has been asked by a new teacher, Sister Andrew, to represent St. Margaret's School in a scholarship competition, but Lucy is reluctant. She doesn't want to go to a Catholic high school, preferring to think about ice skating and her emerging friendship with Gabriel. Still, she agrees--for what she believes are the wrong reasons--to do the extra studying needed; meanwhile, she learns even more about her talent as a writer and herself as a person than she does about the subjects she studies. Lucy's character is beautifully developed; her grieving, her passionate honesty, and her confused views of scholarship and friendship are set clearly in a family and school environment that is compassionately drawn yet never idealized. An involving, introspective first novel.