Against his will, Dusty, 12, finds himself on a Caribbean cruise ship with his father and stepfamily. After nearly drowning once, as a small child, he has constructed elaborate lies to avoid the water, losing friends and disappointing his father as a result. On the ship he meets Tahni, the ghost of a Taino Indian girl who drowned in 1511. She loves to swim, and helps Dusty with his fears; he helps her return to her island, where her soul can finally rest. Tahni and the Jamaican ship's steward are the only characters who make the events vivid; readers interested in Taino culture will find more to ponder in Michael Dorris's Morning Girl. Garland (I Never Knew Your Name, 1994, etc.) requires readers to have a healthy suspension of disbelief just to wade through the labored plot. The encounter with Tahni is the heart of the piece; it's ironic that the ghostly element is the most believable and compelling part of the story with the rest just convoluted constructions around it.