THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
The Tillerman kids' mother just left them one day in a car in a mall parking lot. Their father, too, had left them a long time ago. So, as usual, it was up to thirteen-year-old Dicey, the eldest of four, to take care of everything, make all the decisions, feed them, find places to sleep. But above all, Dicey would have to make sure to avoid the authorities who would split them up and place them in foster homes. Deep down, she hoped they could find an adult they could trust, someone who would take them in and love them. But she was afraid it was too much to hope for....
"Fantastic...Dicey's strength and courage carry the story."
THE BALTIMORE SUN
When Momma abandoned Dicey Tillerman and her three siblings in a mall parking lot and was later traced to an asylum where she lay unrecognizing, unknowing, she left her four children no choice but to get on by themselves. They set off alone on foot over hundreds of miles until they finally found someone to take them in. Gram's rundown farm isn't perfect, but they can stay together as a family-which is all Dicey really wanted.
But after watching over the others for so long, it's hard for Dicey to know what to do now. Her own identity has been so wrapped up in being the caretaker, navigator, penny counter, and decision maker that she's not sure how to let go of some responsibilities while still keeping a sense of herself. But when the past comes back with devastating force, Dicey sees just how necessary-and painful-letting go can be.
Jeff Greene was only seven when he came home from school to find a note from his mother. She felt that the world needed her more than her "grown up" son did. For someone who believed she could see the world's problems so clearly, she was blind to the heartache and difficulties she pushed upon her son, leaving him with his reserved, undemonstrative father.
So when, years later, she invites Jeff to spend summers with her in Charleston, Jeff is captivated by her free spirit and warmth, and a happiness he's been missing fills him. But Jeff's second visit ends with a devastating betrayal and an aching feeling of loneliness. In life, there can be emotional pits so deep that seemingly nothing will grow-but if he digs a little deeper, Jeff might just come out on the other side.