It's 1942 and Alan Ponder, at ""barely seventeen"" the youngest man in his army barracks, remembers the days before Pearl Harbor--especially his junior year with Amanda, his special friend since sixth grade. But just as their relationship is verging on something more, Amanda is forbidden to see Alan because his mother has run off to Alabama, causing a scandal in their small Georgia town. Before long Amanda is going with Alan's sister's boyfriend, and though Irene gets Hap back for keeps, Amanda meanwhile gets pregnant. And Alan, deserted by both his mother and Amanda, is unyielding in his resentment. The bittersweet coating on all of this is a bit thick but nevertheless effective, blending as it does the ambience of time and place with the changing personal relationships that Alan finds hard to accept.