As always, no book could be written without the consistent love of my family and friends. Many thanks go out to my awesome beta readers: Michael, David, and Christina. Your patience and enthusiasm have kept me going through the Valley of the Shadow of Writer's Block, and no words I write can express what your support has meant to me.

Thanks also to my publishing team, agent Jim McCarthy and editor John Scognamiglio, who excel at (good) reality checks and flexible deadlines. You guys keep me on the straight and narrow, despite my best efforts.
Finally, I'll always be grateful to my darling eighth graders who were so generous about letting me retire from teaching in order to finish this book. I wish you all the best and can't wait until you're old enough to actually read the stuff I write.