Sixteen-year-old Eon hopes to become an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune and learn to be its main interpreter, but to do so will require much, including keeping secret that she is a girl.
This novel is a humorous look at Elizabeth Clarry's complicated life. It is written totally in letters: notes on the fridge between Elizabeth and her mom, letters to a stranger as part of her English teacher's attempt to have everyone re-discover the "Joy of the Envelope," and smirky little bits of conscience from groups like the COLD HARD TRUTH ASSOCIATION. Life is difficult enough, but to make things worse, Elizabeth's best friend, Celia, has run off to join the circus and left Elizabeth all alone to figure out guys and parents and ridiculous school assignments.
In 1947, with her jovial stepfather Joe back from the war and family life returning to normal, teenage Evie, smitten by the handsome young ex-GI who seems to have a secret hold on Joe, finds herself caught in a complicated web of lies whose devastating outcome change her life and that of her family forever.
During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker's classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.
Middle-school readers will empathize with aptly named Calvin Schwa as he tries to raise his own visibility while discovering why his mother disappeared. Amusing incidents and solid characterization carry this story to its poignant conclusion.