Ok, I don't often rave about a book, but I'm going to about this one!
1) Prepare to read through your tears. I had to space out reading over two nights, as crying stuffs up my nose and I can't sleep.
2) Prepare to care so much about the characters, that you get mad -- yes! - when one of them dies.
3) Feel your heart swell with joy and amazement and disbelief (because authors NEVER do this anymore!) when... well, I won't spoil the ending!
I LOVED this book. The characters are complex, not all-together-likeable, and they behave in amazingly human (sometimes even cruel) ways, and yet they connect, each and every one of them, despite their flaws.
The story is told from Guinevere's point of view, but by the end you care about the others - the strangely large Gaysie, her son Micah and his sparkly shoelaces, and most of all, the champion, Jimmy, and his skateboard.
Guinevere moves with her Dad and little sister to her parent's hometown in Iowa, in hopes of sparking her mom's memories. Her mom suffered a heart attack and brain damage, and can't remember anything past age 13, including Guinevere and her sister.
On her first day, her new neighbor, Gaysie, almost buries Guinevere in a grave, and tension between them flares -- Guinevere, determined to prove Gaysie is a murderer, and Gaysie, determined to treat her childhood best friend's precocious daughter with decency and respect.