Ted wants to have the best summer ever, and that means striking some kind of a balance: he wants to be a lifeguard, requiring a time-consuming, rigorous training course; he needs to earn money mowing lawns with his best friend Will; he has promised his mother to keep up his lessons on the guitar, for which he has a true gift. Ted works constantly, believing he can do it all, but the clays are simply too short. As his commitment to life-guarding grows, Ted's schedule gets more complex until he realizes that Will is in trouble and his guitar teacher drops him. He lies to his mother; meanwhile, other events and circumstances contrive to send his life spiraling out of control. Ted's choices are multifaceted and true to life; Marino hands him any number of Catch-22s, but allows no clean getaways. His single-mindedness is so well developed that readers will be cheering him on while wondering when his plans are going to cave in on him. He's spirited and determined, as is the story of his heroic summer.