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the eve of her twelfth birthday, Hattie Owen has never met her Uncle Adam.
In fact, she does not even know he exists. Hattie helps her mother and
artist father run a boarding house in a small town. She likes a life of
routine and dinner with the boarders whom she has known most of her life.
It is a summer in which Hattie and her family never take a vacation abut
will change her life forever.
Her grandparents, Nana and
Papa, disapprove of the boarding house which they consider beneath their
dignity. Nana only understands her own social place as a doctor's wife,
in the society of their town.
When Hattie's Uncle Adam arrives
in their small town, Hattie finds his unusual behavior curious. Adam has
been at a school for the mentally disabled. Not one of her family members
has ever mentioned Adam, and now that his school has closed, he has returned
home to live. Hattie, who has only one friend, forms a bond with Adam.
As they share secrets with each other, Hattie begins to wonder if she and
Adam are kindred spirits, for she can sometimes anticipate what he is going
Other family members are less
accepting of Adam's behaviors. Nana is a perfectionist and finds Adam to
be an embarrassment to her place of honor in their small town. Even Hattie's
own parents sometimes act as if Adam should not be included.
But, Hattie finds that Adam
has something to teach each of them. For Hattie, this is a summer of enlightenment
and maturity. She is a little bit of a rebel, but that allows her to lift
up "a corner of the universe" and see the world from another view point.
Cindy Fiegenbaum for The
Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award