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The summer of 1970 starts off badly for 13-year-old Maya. Her mother has sent her to Seattle to stay with the grandmother she's never met; her father is reported MIA in the jungles of Vietnam; and angry Maya's determined to get back home, even if it means running away. But slowly Maya begins to adjust, first befriending an autistic boy--and piano prodigy--living next door, and getting her grandmother to adopt a cat they name Harry S. Truman. When Maya finds a trombone in the attic, she's mesmerized. She learns to play as her grandmother gradually unravels the details of her past: Maya's grandfather was a famous jazz trombone player who died in a car crash, and her grandmother was once a top jazz singer--who now only sings in church. After saving an elderly man from a riot, Maya adjusts to the prospect of life without her father, helps to mend her mom's relationship with her grandmother, and takes the first steps to becoming an accomplished musician.