Two years have passed since readers first met Leigh Botts in Dear Mr. Henshaw. Leigh and his mother are still living in a ramshackle cottage in Pacific Grove, California, and Leigh's trucker father shows up once in a blue moon to take Leigh for a ride in his rig. Lately, things haven't been easy for Leigh. He's starting high school in the fall, and although he's outgrown all of his school pants, his mother treats him as if he's still a kid. And even though he's gotten more accustomed to his father's unreliability over the years, that doesn't make it hurt any less. Then one day Leigh discovers a stray dog with sad eyes, abandoned on a lonely beach. Leigh takes the orphan home, names him Strider, and initiates a warm and touching friendship, one that will help Leigh over many of the harder hurdles to growing up.
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