While I have stated many times my love for historical fiction books, following a close second are realistic fiction novels aimed at the tween years. The Year The Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice is a debut novel that was a wonderful, wonderful read. At the novel's beginning, Groovy is out with her father when he is arrested. Groovy rushes to tell her mother who is at work at the beauty salon she is part owner of. Instead of being surprised by this news, her mother admits that she is the one who called the police. As it turns out, her father is a bit of a dreamer - and a gambler. The money that Groovy inherited from her namesake has been taken by her father and gambled away. Groovy spends a lot of time with her friends Frankie and Luis who run a Mexican restaurant and are also dealing with their own issues. Marisol, a girlf from Groovy's class and her younger brother, Felix, help Groovy with her struggles and end up being better friends to her than she ever expected. While Groovy does feel let down by her father, over time she is able to learn a little more about her dad and appreciate some of the goodness inside of him. The ending to this book is not overly trite or predictable, and now that I am done reading I miss Groovy and learning about her life.