Winner of the Alex Award
A Booklist Editors' Choice Best Adult Book for Young Adults
A Finalist for the Ferro-Grumley Award
Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults Nominee
It's 1978 and a typical January day in Minnesota's Twin Cities—except for Kevin Doyle, whose mother died two years ago when her car plunged into the icy waters of the Upper Mississippi. A high school senior, Kevin is a marginal student obsessed with keggers, rock and roll, maintaining his place in the pecking order of high school males and—unbeknownst to anyone else—with a boy in his school with thick eyelashes and a bad attitude.
In the past two years, Kevin's relationship with his father, Patrick, has grown increasingly distant, and as lonely women vie for his father's attention, Kevin discovers Patrick's own closely guarded secret: At the time of his wife's death, he had planned to abandon his family for another woman. More disturbingly, his mother's death may well have been a suicide, not an accident.
Fanning the flames of familial discontent is Kevin's Aunt Nora, a belligerent and fiercely religious Irish immigrant who has never liked her brother-in-law and blames him for the death of her sister. In the coming year, a series of painful truths and closely guarded secrets threatens to shatter the tentative bonds between father and son and wreak havoc on the lives of those nearest to them both.