Skye Johnson, a high school swimmer, is training for state finals when a new boyfriend distracts her from her single-minded pursuit of athletic championships. As the romance begins to turn abusive, she finds her boyfriend becoming more of a problem in her life than her brother, who has Down's syndrome, and who accompanies her almost everywhere because he needs supervision.

Her divorced, single mother holds down two jobs and can't be home to care for Sunny, the brother, so he has been largely Skye's responsibility since she entered high school. Sunny wants to learn to swim. Skye knows he is teachable, and could be prepared for the Special Olympics, but doesn't want to devote time to training him, so she secretly arranges to give him lessons with her babysitting money.

A serious confrontation with her boyfriend leaves her with an injured hand which prevents her swimming in the state competition, but which, it turns out, allows her to be present when Sunny swims in the Special Olympics. She finds herself deeply proud of him, and able to see again why she loves this brother whom she's regarded for some time largely as a burden.


This is an engaging story about real family issues with a protagonist who isn't, in all respects, endearing, who makes some rather self-destructive mistakes, who has things to learn, and learns them at some cost. The characters are well-drawn, though the abusive boyfriend is less developed than others and consequently somewhat one-dimensional. But both the costs and satisfactions of extended caregiving are elaborated, as well as the emotional needs of a young person with Down's syndrome. A helpful story for young people with siblings who need care.



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