Yes, there really is a Normal, Illinois. Charles Harrisong should know; he was born there. But life is difficult for Charles because his family isn't normal at all. They're poor, for one thing. They stand out, which is the worst thing. After an ugly incident at school, Charles and family leave Normal and begin an adventure that takes them to a houseboat that just might be their new home. And Charles begins a personal journey within his own heart; one that will ultimately deliver him both from and to himself.
"Readers as precocious as Charles will sympathize with the social anxieties Klise probes, and feel comforted by her uptight protagonist's gradual relaxation into the 'extraordinary ordinariness' of life." (Booklist)