Ellie Farley's father, Okey, drinks too much, mostly because he hasn't been able to work since he was injured in a mining accident. He hasn't been able to hunt, either, so it's strange when he brings home a hunting dog, a beagle named Bullet.
But Bullet is only the first odd thing that happens to Ellie the year she's eleven. She sees a favorite uncle go off to war; a boy in her class has a fit in the middle of geography and another is accidentally killed while target shooting; and Okey drives his Chevy pickup off the mountain, with near-tragic consequences. But still Ellie manages the ordinary pleasures of making a best friend and getting kissed for the first time -- it's no wonder she confides to Bullet on her twelfth birthday, "Some year."
Cynthia Rylant is the author of more than 100 books for young people, including the beloved Henry and Mudge, Annie and Snowball, Brownie & Pearl, and Mr. Putter & Tabby series. Her novel Missing May received the Newbery Medal. She lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Visit her at CynthiaRylant.com.