To be perfectly honest, the day my father died really wasn't the worst day of my life.When his beloved father, Michael, dies, Claybird Catts finds solace in the company of his close-knit family -- his mysterious and beautiful mother, Myra; his lovable, know-it-all sister, Missy; his newly grown-up brother, Simon; and his devoted grandmother, Cissie. Devastated by his loss, but secure in their love, Claybird feels as though life could almost go on as usual in their small, sleepy Southern hometown. Until Uncle Gabe comes back. A stranger to Claybird, Uncle Gabe is a brilliant academic who disappeared twenty years ago. Despite the deep mystery that surrounds him, Gabe's humor and intellect shine, and he quickly positions himself in the role of the Catts family's patriarch, filling the role of Claybird's dead father. Gabe and Claybird become coconspirators and best friends, until a slip of the tongue unveils the real history of their relationship, a heart-wrenching revelation that turns Claybird's world upside down.