by Ann M. Martin
Eleanor Roosevelt Dingman lives with her family on Witch Tree Lane in Spectacle, New York, and the year is 1963. The people of Witch Tree Lane are considered odd, so rocks are thrown through windows, Holly Major’s cat is poisoned, and the Witch Tree itself is painted lavender. It was the year that President Kennedy was assassinated, and the girls at Ellie’s school decide that Ellie and her best friend, Holly, are weird, and should be “slammed”; pushed and shoved as hard as possible against the walls and lockers. Ellie’s family’s own relationships begin to break up, and her mother, Doris Day Dingman, goes to New York City, leaving her children behind, along with her husband, in their small hometown of Spectacle. Slowly, Ellie’s life and family begins to fall apart. Her father is away all day trying to earn money for his family, and Ellie is the only one left to take care of her brother and sister, Albert Einstein and Marie Curie. Can Ellie manage all her responsibilities, and will her mother ever come back?