The summer of Eli's tenth year proves to be his coming of age year. His aunt comes home hiding a secret, his sister seems to do everything she can to test his mom, and his best friend Edie's parents are getting a divorce. It is also the summer of 76, the bicentennial and his father, a Vietnam vet, is suffering from PTSD, but refuses to get help. Eli as a child of Vietnam is faced with his father's horrible flashbacks and he and his sister resent their parents for loving each other more than their children. As both of them try to figure out their place in the world, they inflict pain on their parents and friends, and both parents must learn it is best to deal with problems rather than ignore them and think that you are appearing strong.
I couldn't really tell that this book was set in Kentucky and he uses a fictitious town. This was told from the perspective of grown Eli remembering being young and often Eli's young thoughts seem to be too wise for his years. The storyline was intriguing and it was interesting to see how Vietnam affected the children of veterans. Both Eli and his sister Josie are as damaged by the war as their parents and it affects both of their actions and their relationship with others. Overall I enjoyed the book and House's descriptive writing style. 3 cups of cocoa.