When Brenda's Dad dies of a heart attack after losing his Missouri farm, Jens Tucker's father sees it as a consequence of the economic troubles farmers face in the 80's--""This land will eat us all alive before it's through."" He's right about the precarious status of the Tucker farm, as Jens (12) recounts in the diary written before the Tuckers move out a few weeks later. Meanwhile, we've come to know them: quiet Dad--a dedicated farmer who dearly loves the land that has been in his wife's family for four generations; Mama--intuitive about her family's needs, who has always felt the attraction of another kind of life; and especially Jens--bright, in tune with the land and the seasons as her father is, but plagued by jealousy of her pretty mother and her best friend Maria, who always seems to be perfect. The experiences as moving day approaches are hard: seeing an auction where farmers lose small treasures and vital equipment; disposing of livestock; saying good-bye to the morning star she has always seen through a special knothole in the barn. Meanwhile, Jens learns a lot about why people are as they are, and begins to understand that ""we have to give up on fair sometimes."" A moving, well-constructed first novel concerned with a major contemporary problem; readers will easily identify with spunky Jens and her very human strengths and weaknesses.