When Delrita Jensen moves to Tangle Nook and finds kids laughing at 35-year-old Uncle Punky (who has Down's syndrome), singing and swinging in the backyard, her worst fears are confirmed. Shunned next day at school, she remains invisible until Avanelle, a new girl with her own family secret, seeks her friendship. Then Delrita's parents die in a car accident, and she and Punky must live with Uncle Bert and Aunt Queenie, who enroll Punky in a sheltered workshop in the hope that both Punky and Delrita will become more independent. Punky thrives in his new environment, but Delrita withdraws; wrongly accused of exposing Avanelle's secret, she climbs back into her ""invisible shell."" Finally, after Punky's chronically weak heart gives out and Delrita sees how many friends pay him tribute, she finds that she, too, can ""spread my wings and fly."" Packed with nimble dialogue, distinct personalities, and powerful emotions, a well-paced first novel that adroitly conveys Delrita's struggles to find herself. While the parents' deaths seem contrived and some events are predictable, the scenes of Punky with his peers are a delight. A perceptive look at some of the possibilities presented by life--and death.