It's September 1943 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and eleven-year-old Ellie McKelvey's older brother, Jimmy, has just been drafted. Jimmy has a joyful heart and a kind word for everyone, and he's the only person who thinks Ellie is smart and funny and as beautiful as Lana Turner, the movie star. Ellie can hardly stand to see him go. With Jimmy gone, Aunt Toots moves into his bedroom, Ellie's mother takes a war job at a factory, and everything in Ellie's life seems upside down. But she figures that the war will be over and Jimmy home by Christmas, so as much as she misses him, she keeps her spirits up. Even as families in the neighborhood begin to receive telegrams informing them that their boys are wounded or worse, Ellie never stops believing in Jimmy.