Winner of the New England Book Award for Fiction If you read only one book this year, let it be this one. Richmond Times-Dispatch "A story that tugs at the heartstrings... Thirteen-year-old Katie is new to her Missouri town, living alone with a stern, inaccessible father following her mother s death. Unable to fit in at school, she forges alliances where she can: with her housekeeper, with a pimply fellow misfit named Cynthia, and with the gorgeous Taylor, who gets her kicks out of shoplifting. Most frustrating of all is Katie s imperfect friendship with the proprietor of a local gas station, a handsome twenty-three-year-old who shares her love of checkers but doesn t return her crush. With humor and an eye for telling detail, Berg conveys the way each unpromising element of Katie s life ultimately offers her more than she had anticipated. People A] painfully accurate tale of first love...Berg can conjure character with a minimum of words and a rainbow of nuance. The reader misses Katie as soon as the book ends. Publishers Weekly (starred review)"