Not, as you might expect about a particulary hot summer filled with wasps, but about how a family is transformed to the point of almost destruction by the discovered hidden talent (an ability to spell) of its previous weakest link. The book gives a very honest depiction of a Jewish American life - the mother's character is one to behold - think mother in TV show 'Six Feet Under' and you're not far off.
'Number 26,' the pronouncer intones with the solemnity of the keeper of the Book of Life, 'your word is EYRIR'.... EYRIR is a supernova inside Eliza's head, unexpected but breathtakingly beautiful. The lights transform the audience into a sea of vague shapes, the alien syllables echoing in the auditorium's corners. It is strangley quiet. The word fills Eliza's mouth with a sweet metallic taste.