All summer Sara Godfrey has fretted over herself, her impossible body, her terrible new haircut. One moment she's elated, the next, she's in tears. And she can't figure out why. Maybe her wildly changing moods are tied to the sudden and unaccountable appearance of the swans, which hold the rapt attention of Charlie, Sara's mentally retarded brother, who she loves far more than herself these days. In fact, it will be the sudden disappearance of Charlie that will compel Sara to abandon her own small, annoying miseries ("I have cried over myself a hundred times this summer"), and lose herself in searching for him. In her anguish, Sara turns to Joe Melby, whom she has long despised, and together they search through the dense woods and rough fields to find him. Together they hear Charlie's sharp repeated cry, which leads them to him. The longest day of the summer is finally over, and Sara knows that she will never be the same again. Author Byars is well known for crafting powerful narratives about young people at odds with themselves and the world. Her Newbery award-winning story about a girl with a dead mother and an absent father, and her struggle for identity at the cusp of womanhood, is poignantly rendered. Particularly powerful here are Byars' descriptions of the bewildered Charlie lost in the woods.