On his own and struggling with the possibility of losing his friend Gamaliel, Boone is taking more responsibility for maintaining the old man’s home while he recuperates. His conflicts with Gamaliel’s son-in-law Jerry are increasing in frequency and intensity, and his relationship with his new friend Tiny is getting stronger; Tiny’s practical knowledge of how the adult world works is invaluable to Boone, and he has Boone’s back on more than one occasion.

The everyday demands of adult life are new and sometimes confusing for Boone; using a bank, applying for a driver’s license, grocery shopping, laundry, caring for his dog Frankie, all seem more difficult for him than for everybody around him. His mother’s reappearance in his life serves only to bring a new and much more intense level of disappointment, since he catches only a glimpse of her before she is gone again, with only a note left behind. For Boone, family is starting to become something very different and in many ways more substantial than what it used to be when he was a child. He still pushes those close to him away, but not as often or as strongly as before, and his maturing relationship with Nancy is frightening and exciting all at the same time.

The decisions he has to make now have more serious consequences, and the ghosts of his past are never far away. He can still feel his father’s influence, try as he might to shake loose from it, and while his intense emotions often make his life more difficult, sometimes that intensity is exactly what he has to call on to survive.

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