Twelve-year-old Rory's world is changing, her favorite tree is being cut down and her artist father is acting weird. Twelve-year-old Rory struggles to hold on to the things which have been a constant in her young life. She and her best friend Nicky watch as Rory's dad cuts down a sick tree. The tree has been a staple in Rory's life. It is the place where she and Nicky shared their greatest secrets, fears, and ambitions. It has provided shade from the summer sun, and and like a pretty painting beauty year round. Rory has charted the season from the pretty leaves, to the tree's snow covered branches.
Rory loves drawing, it is much more than a hobby to her. Her dad is an artist and his work while beautiful doesn't pay the family's bills. That job falls to Rory's mom who works overtime in a publishing house to keep the family afloat. He has been teaching Rory to draw since she was old enough to hold a pencil.
When Rory catches her dad in his barn work studio kissing one of his clients the family starts to fall apart. Rory is so angry she sets her sketch pad on fire. Dad can't bring himself to apologize so he leaves to stay at a friends. For months he doesn't call to check and Rory. Making matters worse Nicky has a boyfriend, and they are spending all of their free time together, leaving Nicky out.
Feeling as if her world is ending Nicky falls into a depression and loses interest in drawing. She and her dad were to have worked on a mural for her mom's fortieth birthday. With her dad gone and her parents not communicating things don't look good for the mural getting done, or for Nicky's parents reconciling.
Her mom takes a much needed vacation leaving Rory in the care of her grandmother. The first chance Rory gets she takes a cab with the fifty dollars her mom left her for hanging out, and goes to the rundown apartment where her dad is staying. She expects to see her dad's new girlfriend on the premises. Her dad doesn't explain why he hasn't called, but Rory is glad not to find any of the woman things like lipsticks, or clothing on the premises. No, it was just her dad in a raggedy apartment.
He has a hard time apologizing but reassures Rory that nothing happened beyond the kiss. He tells Rory it is not her fault that he has left and that he needs to work some things out. He asks Rory about her art and she tells him that she can't draw anymore. He pushes her to talk and she leaves very angry and catches another cab to her house. Her grandmother is worried sick and calls Rory's dad (whom she isn't fond of). He finds Rory at home where he assumed she has gone.
They finally talk. Dad has salvaged her sketchpad and the work within it was reinforced so that the book was again whole. He inscribed one of the pages with a love sonnet for his daughter apologizing again, and telling her to never give up her gift of drawing.
She completes the mural for her mother after all. It includes a picture of the beloved family tree. Rory is growing up and realizes that things change but having strong roots can help you get through almost anything.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked that Rory found her passion again after being hurt when her parents separated.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Rory and Nicky had a heart-to-heart talk.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked that Rory had a forgiving heart.