Roy Eberhardt has recently, and unhappily, arrived in Florida. Disney World is an armpit, he states flatly, compared to Montana. Roys family moves a lot, so hes used to the new-kid drill. Florida bullies are pretty much like bullies everywhere. But Roy finds himself oddly indebted to the hulking Dana Matherson. If Dana hadnt been sinking his thumbs into Roys temples and mashing his face against the school-bus window, Roy might never have spotted the running boy. And the running boy is the first interesting thing Roys seen in Florida. The boy was about Roys age, but he was running away from the school bus. He had no books, no backpack, and, heres the odd part, no shoes. Sensing a mystery, Roy sets himself on the boys trail. The chase will introduce him to some other intriguing Floridian creatures: potty-trained alligators, a beleaguered construction foreman, some burrowing owls, a fake-fart champion, a renegade eco-avenger, some slippery fish, a sinister pancake PR man, and several extremely poisonous snakes with unnaturally sparkling tails. Life in Florida is looking up.