When Pete Logan runs away from his California foster home with a vague idea of going to the Virgin Islands to live with distant relatives there and study Marine biology, not even his dice addicted pal Barney would have given favorable odds on his chances. Strangely enough, Pete, whose cold, distant manner has alienated his foster family, begins making friends almost immediately -- beginning with Barney and his sneaker-clad, jump-suited grandmother Lily. Then the boys travel to Texas to work carnival concessions for Carl, an admirably acerbic and wise contemporary of Lily. And Pete actually does reach the Virgin Islands, where he builds a friendship with his young cousin Becky and overcomes an initially chilly reception from his Aunt Lenore by his courageous behavior during a hurricane. One can't help feeling that Pete's successful odyssey is mostly the result of lucky coincidence -- particularly in meeting the comfortably kooky Lily -- and his growing maturity if any is expressed only through his willingness to accept the help Lily and others offer him. One follows Pete to share his discovery of warm-hearted friends in unlikely places -- from the half-world of the carnival to the glass walled Island beach house, though only readers who share Pete's low-keyed responses will be able to meet this mild mannered adventurer on his own terms.