It is a tradition for Alice to vacation in winter and celebrate her birthday with other regulars, in a seaside cottage in Florida. But on her 10th birthday things are a little different. Some of her "extended family" is missing. Instead, 6 year old Mallory enters the scene, and makes everything less perfect for Alice. But Mallory's own story has a tinge of sadness. Henkes authentically brings out Alice's struggle, swinging from girlhood to adoloscence - a trip into the internal psyche trying to balance genuine conflicting emotions. Wrapped tightly around all of this is Alice's passion for shells and the hunt for the rare junonia shell she covets. Kevin Henke's writing - choice of words, similies, simplicity, and style of language. The beach backdrop filled with sky, sea gulls, sun, pelicans, dolphins, cottages, sand and shells!