A month before eighth grade begins, Alice realizes she is going to have to face something she's been afraid of forever. Everybody, she knows, is afraid of something: elevators, dogs, planes, spiders . . . but her fear is worse. It's going to bring absolute disaster to the rest of her summer, maybe to the rest of her life. The truth is she's afraid of deep water!
It's a hot August, and everyone in Alice's gang goes to Mark Stedmeister's swimming pool almost every day. Alice sits at the shallow end. She plays badminton. She makes excuses, and keeps her problem secret.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Pamela, Alice's two best friends, tackle problems of their own, and are more or less successful. Life is changing for everyone but Alice.
Bravery begins in little ways, with small steps. That's what Alice finally discovers. And after she faces this particular fear, she knows she can summon the courage to face other fears as well.
As in her previous adventures, Alice tackles some of the big problems of growing up with humor and enterprise and learns once again that a brother, a father, and friends can offer amazing amounts of help.