Ari is lacking confidence and direction. He feels isolated from his father, who remains haunted by his experiences in the Vietnam War. His parents never talk about his imprisoned older brother, and Ari doesn't even know the details of Bernardo's crime. Then Ari meets Dante, who is light-hearted, well-spoken and sentimental. Dante offers to teach Ari to swim, and a close friendship develops over the course of a summer. When he learns that Dante's family will be moving away for a year, Ari isn't sure how he will survive.
The voices and characters in this heartwarming book felt very genuine, which I always appreciate in young adult fiction because they can be challenging for adult authors to successfully render. Ari and Dante easily endear themselves to the reader, and I would recommend this book to teens and adult of all ages.