On the hot Texas army base she calls home, Katie spends the lazy days of her summer waiting: waiting to grow up; waiting for Dickie Mack to fall in love with her; waiting for her breasts to blossom; waiting for the beatings to stop. Since their mother died, Katie and her older sister, Diane, have struggled to understand their increasingly distant, often violent father. While Diane escapes into the arms of her boyfriend, Katie hides in her room or escapes to her best friend's house - until Katie's admiration for her strong-willed sister leads her on an adventure that transforms her life.
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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.
Katie Nash is 13 years old in 1961, and she's facing a summer full of conflict. Her father has enlisted her in two care-taking jobs - baby-sitting for the rambunctious Wexler boys and, equally challenging, looking after Mrs. Randolph, her elderly, bedridden neighbor. To make matters worse, Katie has been forcibly inducted into the "loser" Girl Scout troop, compliments of her only new friend Cynthia's controlling mother. Her only saving grace is a trip to her childhood hometown in Texas, to visit her best friend Cherylanne. But people and places change - and Cherylanne is no exception.