Dellie's family has been wracked by the death of her brother. Her parents, who have been in counseling for months, are struggling to keep going. Her mother, has become distant and over-protective of Dellie while her father finds himself having to follow her around to make sure she is safe so his wife will not worry. Neither seems to notice that Dellie is fighting her own personal guilt. She can't help but wonder if their is something she could have done to save her brother Louis from the accident that killed him.
Things start to change when a new family moves into their housing project. Corey, the little boy who has come with his mother, is a tiny little thing, even though he is older than Louis would have been. Dellie can't help but feel for him, particularly as she starts to realize how tough things are for Corey. It quickly becomes clear that his mother is trouble when a gunshot breaks the silence of the night of their arrival. Things only get worse as everyone can't help but notice the arguing that takes place between Corey's mom and her boyfriend in the apartment.
Corey and Dellie become fast friends as he starts to escape and turn to her for support and some food when his mother abandons him without a meal. Corey and his troubles provide a reason for Dellie's family to find a focus other than the loss of Louis.
Dellie's troubles are not limited to just those relating to her brother's death and Corey's difficult situation. She has a burgeoning crush on Michael, one of the boys in her math class. She is also facing the fact that her best friend no longer wants to be her friend, and Dellie doesn't even know why.
This is a really moving story about a 13-year-old struggling to get through the tough realities of inner-city life. Her family is shattered by their lucky, but she is lucky, because she is not confronted with the challenging situation that Corey has. How will she find the strength in herself to not only help Corey but also to heal her own personal wounds?
I thought the characters in this story were very richly-drawn. You could almost feel them in the room while reading, and I know that I wanted to just do what I could to help both Dellie and Corey. At the same time, I felt like the book, which is fairly short, seemed to move along at a fairly slow pace, making it drag. That is not to say that I didn't like it. I really did want to know what was going to happen.
The book does struggle with some basic editing issues with misspelled words sprinkled throughout, and the errors are not tied to the use of urban slang. They are just typos.