In the Dickeyville area of Baltimore, five friends meet and bond. they form a group, referring to themselves as the five arms of a starfish. They are Gwen, the Halloran brothers, Tim, Sean and Go Go, and the other woman, Mickey Wyckoff.
They live in a quiet middle-class neighborhood where parents permitted their children to play without supervision.
The action moves from current time to the late 1970s.
In the current time, Gwen returns to her childhood home to care for her father who had taken a fall. She meets Sean Halloran who informs her that his brother, Go Go, has died, from suicide.
We learn about the character's lives and that Gwen is married to a surgeon but doesn't know if she wants to remain in a home where her husband is the only thing that matters.
In 1978, the five friends played in Leaken Park and while exploring came upon an abandoned cabin that was now the dwelling place of a homeless man. They refer to him as Chicken George.
During the next summer, Gwen was dating Sean and one day Mickey and Go Go travel to the cabin and become involved in something with Chicken George.
The novel is entertaining as we see the development of the characters and their parents as they deal with the incident. The novel leaves the reader saddened that the innocence of childhood is such a fleeting thing.