Ms. Berg pens a light-hearted coming-of-age novel that highlights the innocence of a young girl poised on the edge of womanhood. The richness of Katie's experiences coupled with the gravity of her mistakes are creatively combined to enhance the depths of her personality.

The year is 1961, and 13-year-old Katie Nash is now old enough to have a job, according to her father. But the job she envisions, working the concession stand at the local pool, is not to be. Instead, she will help the elderly Mr. Randolph care for his bed-ridden wife, in addition to babysitting for the three Wexler hellions.

As Katie and her friend Cynthia navigate their way through the sticky Missouri summer, Katie gets a chance to return to Texas to visit her friend, Cherylanne. But Cherylanne has changed, and the few years between them magnify their differences.

Surprisingly, Katie finds a unique sense of peace working for the Randolphs and enduring the Wexler boys. Though she misses her mother, her stepmother Ginger becomes an ally of sorts in dealing with her stringent father.

(Jun., 224 pp., $24.00)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick