It is the late 1940s, and Steve Bowman, a ¿fteen-year-old Nebraska farm boy who has run away from his abusive father, ¿nds himself in a small Alabama town with only the clothes on his back. Unknown to Awillah Pike, an elderly woman who befriends him, he moves into a dilapidated shed in her backyard and sets about fashioning a new identity while avoiding discovery and being sent back to his father.
He manages to forge the documents necessary for him to get into high school and to get part-time jobs to support himself, but living in the shadows, his life becomes one of isolation, deception, and the constant threat of discovery.
In the segregationist South, Steve's friendship with Taliaferro, a Negro teenager, must be kept secret. Romance ¿nds him, and his growing relationship with his girlfriend, Laura, brightens his life and gives meaning to it. However, his life must be conducted in and out of shadows, and any meeting of the three most important people in his life, Awillah, Taliaferro, and Laura, could bring his carefully crafted façade tumbling down, sending him back to his father!
In this compelling tale, his accidental discovery sends the novel in unexpected directions, ending in a twist of fate that brings resolution to the story.