Nearly everything important in twelve-year-old Gabriella's life that summer of 1957 can be traced to the river. The African-American Marine Hawkins helps her find her strength when he teaches her to swim there. In the river the murdered youth Emmett Till comes to life and helps her find her heart.Yet as she swims toward young adulthood, it could all be lost. Could her friendship with Hawkins endanger the tough Marine? It doesn't seem possible. Until a sudden storm on the river changes Gabriella's life--forever.