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What's Alice going to do? When twelve-year-old Alice's dad moves out, leaving her with her troubled mother, Alice does the only thing that feels right: She retreats to her family's old Renaissance fair tent in the backyard, determined to live there until her dad comes home. In an attempt to keep at least one part of her summer from changing, Alice focuses on her quest to get her name on her swim team's record board. But summers contain multitudes, and soon Alice meets an odd new friend, Harriet, whose obsession with the school's science fair is equal only to her conviction that Alice's best stroke is backstroke, not freestyle. Most unexpected of all is an unusual babysitting charge, Piper, who is mostly deaf and entirely mute—until Alice hears her speak a word. Funny and devastatingly honest, this sharply observed depiction of family, friendship, and Alice's determination to prove herself—as a babysitter, as a friend, as a daughter, as a person—rings loud and true.