Urban sixth-grader Cassie, sent by her young, widowed mother to live with a little-known aunt and uncle in rural Vermont while her mother finishes college in Ohio, tells the story of her adjustment--her bewildered anger at her mother, her withdrawal from her aunt, and her surprising discovery of a talent for writing. She learns how to skip stones from Ernie and eats junk food with her classmate Cora (her aunt and uncle are vegetarians); she also comforts an elderly neighbor, makes Aunt Emily proud, and, finally, "finally" writes to her mother. Adult characters, while not exhaustively drawn, are three-dimensional, and Cassie's eventual reconciliation with her mother and her establishment of relationships with friends and relatives occur gradually and believably. Written with an ear for dialogue, the novel is an easy booktalk, with realistic characterizations, a solid plot, and emotions that ring true even in the smallest incidents. Cassie's is an authentic voice, true to the humor, language, and concerns of kids her age.