Eli (12) feels old enough to stay home alone in LA. when his rock-star father goes on the road--but he's sent to his aunt and uncle, Maud and Danny, in a small town in the Willamette Valley. Flashy-as-they-come Eli soon sheds his snakeskin boots and diamond earring--though not his long hair or his songwriting (lyrics head each chapter and form an appendix); in gardening, chopping wood, and the quiet forest all around he finds something that he needs. Soon, Eli learns that his favorite stand of fir is to be logged off; in protest, he climbs a tree in the loggers' path and refuses to leave until a judge orders a hearing. The author leans hard on Oregonians for their narrow-mindedness, yet Danny is easygoing, and he and Maud--who is permanently disabled by an auto accident--are wise and personable. Eli, too, is intelligent and adaptable; after he learns that his stay is likely to be extended, he cuts his hair and makes a successful effort to fit in at the local school. A simply told first novel featuring an effective act of nonviolence.