After his father leaves the family, fifth-grade Martin can't imagine his life getting any worse--until his mother starts dating his teacher. Dad's departure has left Martin so upset that he can't seem to control his behavior--he's stopped doing any work in school; his former best friend is now a bitter enemy. Martin becomes even more upset when his mother begins dating Mr. Raven. He ignores their efforts to help him until his angry feelings explode and he runs away. Then, alone in the woods, his perceptions shift, and he slowly begins to see the situation from another perspective. He returns home able to come to terms with the many changes in his life. Upbeat despite its grim subject, this story is lightened by touches of humor and by interludes in which the situation is seen from Mr. Raven's point of view. The author obviously knows his subject well--there are lots of fifth-grade antics and descriptions of goo and garbage. A subplot involves Martin's diabetic sister learning to give herself a shot. Well-written, witty, and perceptive.