The language in this book is wonderful. It is lyrical and soft, almost old-fashioned despite a few references to the modern day, and the reader is treated with intelligence. We follow twelve-year-old Jane through her summer, a summer of growth, change and education, as she realizes that the simple life she has till now lived, in a small house on the beach, is more complicated than she could have imagined. She does indeed have adventures, which are complicated by the strong characters in the book. People move in and out of her life in the dreamy way that children experience, and like many children she often feels powerless, as though she has to take on all of life's worries by herself.
I had a whole paragraph here about my thoughts on Jane's mother, who is a caring but somewhat flighty character, who has four children with four different fathers. In looking it over, I realized that Horvath was likely trying to get feelings such as mine aroused in her readers. There aren't easy answers and life isn't simple in this book. Questions arise that aren't answered, and people behave in ways that others might find irrational. It is, I think, one of the strengths of this book.
The one qualm I had with the book was that Jane didn't feel like a twelve year old. I could have attributed this to the book being Jane's memories of her twelve-year-old summer, but it's written in present-tense. Jane certainly seemed wise and knowing beyond her years, which clashed with the typically childlike assumptions and decisions she made in the course of the book.