Thirteen-year-old Victoria Finch wants to know how to live in a world that makes no sense to her. She is an only child in a closely knit family who suddenly loses her father to a heart attack a few days after Thanksgiving.
She and her mother move to the small village of New Oxford where she feels isolated. Tory is flattered when Hugh Todd, a high school junior, takes an interest in her and her writing, and for a while she finds some meaning in life as her friendship with him grows.
Hugh befriends her only to help him be special, unique, and original. She is hurt when she realizes she is being used by Hugh; he feels no apparent loss when she ends their friendship.
The relationship between Tory and her mother fluctuates between closeness and isolation, close when they curl up in bed and watch...