From the spring day in 1962 when Willis Merrill and his pet raccoon arrive in Maywood, Indiana, they are nothing but trouble for Lydia Carson. Lydia nicknames Willis "Ratboy" and wonders why he can't be more like his handsome older brother, Elliot. Life gets more complicated when Lydia alienates Elliot by insulting Willis and comes to a standoff with her mother. In her struggle to make amends with all, Lydia finds an ally in Willis and discovers the good in herself.
In her sharp, fresh voice, the author captures the flavor of a small town in Middle America and the hearts of its populace as she tells a powerful story about the resiliency - and flexibility -of family.