Under the Watson’s Porch

Under the Watson’s Porch

by Susan Shreve


Twelve-year-old Ellie Tremont is b-o-r-e-d bored, and she wishes something, anything, would happen to make her feel alive. So when fourteen-year-old Tommy Bowers moves in next door, with his floppy black hair, lanky swagger, and mysterious past, Ellie knows her summer is about to get a lot more interesting. When Tommy suggests they start a camp for the kids on their street under their elderly neighbors’ porch, Ellie quickly agrees. And when Tommy gives her a diamond necklace that he says he bought, that he says is real, Ellie is suspicious — but smitten. By the time Ellie’s parents step in and ask her to stop spending so much time with Tommy — he’s a troubled kid, they say — she’s already given him her heart. But Tommy Bowers isn’t as bad — or as good — as he may appear, and by the end of the summer, he ends up surprising both Ellie and her parents. In a warm and moving novel, Susan Shreve explores the thrill and complexity of a girl’s first crush on a far-from-perfect boy.


Today, Saturday, June 6, is my birthday and I’m twelve although I tell people who don’t otherwise know me that I’m thirteen, and they believe me. I’m an excellent liar.


It’s noon and I’m sitting on our front porch in an Adirondack chair drinking pale lemonade, which looks like white wine, from a long-stemmed wineglass, which I took from the cabinet where my mother keeps her best glasses. My parents are out with my brother, Milo, probably buying me some more birthday presents because they feel terrible. At least my parents do. I had to cancel my birthday party, which was happening today, because Rosie O’Leary was having hers and her invitations got sent out before mine did and I didn’t get one from her. So my friends are at Rosie’s party and I’m here.

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