284 pages; published November 2008
After the post World War II of return of her officer step-father, Joe Spooner, Evie’s family takes off to Florida abruptly. Everybody seems to be hiding something, and things get even more complicated when they are joined by Peter, a handsome young GI who steals Evie’s heart and seems to hold a strange thrall over Joe.
It sucks to be a teenager with self-absorbed, self-indulgent parents who lack any sort of moral compass. So, Evie’s life sucks. Her slutty mom and overbearing step-father are really very unpleasant people, not directly to Evie, but really in general. But Evie’s kind of sweet. She’s got a lot of things figured out but misses some key points as a mystery starts to brew around her parents, who seem to be hiding from something after dashing the family off to Florida. Things get really complicated when a GI from her step-father’s unit runs into them down in Florida (or tracks them down?) and begins romancing Evie. I read this for a teen book discussion group and thought it was interesting that the main concern of every teen there was why on earth Evie was allowed (even encouraged?) to have a romantic relationship with a shady 25-year-old. I would refer back to the parental lack of moral compass. As the mystery fully unfolds, I gained a new appreciation for Evie who becomes quite the interesting and multilayered character.
There is an interesting dimension in this book that explores the strong anti-Semitism on American shores during the era. Sad to consider that the same solider who helped free Jews from Nazi control could not tolerate to sit at the same table at Jews back home.