Constance (Connie) Pendleton and Connor Martin, both 13 years old, are friends and classmates in the upstate New York city of Billington. In the summer of 1954 they are vaguely aware that they might want to be something more than friends, for they are also vaguely aware of their budding sexuality and the distant allure of romance.
Connie and Connor tell their story, which encompasses details of Americans’ way of life in the 1950s, in the first person in alternating short chapters (1,500 to 2,500 words) in language appropriate to young persons of the time.
They befriend a new kid, Sidney Asher, also 13 years old, an orphan who has come from Calais, Maine, to Billington to live with his uncle, Clark Meredith, and the uncle’s new wife, Frances. Sidney is a shy, retiring boy of formal manners. Connie and Connor’s friendship helps him adjust to a new way of life in a different region of the country.
The three young persons’ happy discovery of one another is shaken, as is their world, when Connie and Connor come across a criminal plot that could severely endanger the lives of Sidney and his newfound uncle and aunt.
But Connie and Connor, like Nancy Drew joining hands with one of the Hardy Boys, become involved, at first reluctantly, then steadfastly. What ensues is a snooping about followed by a fast-paced chase, resulting in the two youngsters’ separately saving each other’s life.
Ending, of course, happily—and with a last-minute twist.