In the summer of 1956, a drifter arrived at the Starlite Drive-In. Callie Anne Benton's father manages and runs the theater, taking care of the day-to-day maintenance and obligations. But a recent injury has left him bitter and crippled. Nothing much changes in Callie Anne's daily routine. Not until Charlie Memphis arrives. The owner of the drive-in brings him in to help out, a general handyman if you will. Young Callie Anne is smitten by the stranger. And for Callie Anne's mother, who hasn't left their house for years, Charlie Memphis offers something new as well. Years later, bones are found on the grounds of the old drive-in and Callie Anne is forced to face that summer once again.
Within just a few pages, Reynolds sends readers on a trip back in time to a summer seen through the eyes of a pre-teen on the cusp of great change. It's easy to fall in love with Callie Anne. Her observations will strike a chord with readers of all ages.
I also enjoyed that fact that many of the other characters evoke mixed emotions. No one is a static, one-sided caricature of the standard good guy or bad guy. Each character has different sides to them and Reynolds does a good job of showing those through her writing.
Starlite was originally publishing in 1997 and has been recently rereleased by Harper.