In 1949, Ruthie is a skinny, flat-chested, twelve-year-old tomboy with a metal front tooth living in the Washington Heights section of New York City. It's the most important year of her life; she's about to turn thirteen and move from her sheltered elementary school to a large metropolitan high school. She is frightened about leaving her tomboy life and frightened about confronting the world outside of the only places and friends she has ever kwn. Ruthie decides to start a diary that covers one year of her life and shares her innermost thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams. With humor and sensitivity, Spaghetti Rain speaks in the voice of a girl in that place and at that time. The reader is carried into the era through the songs, movies, radio broadcasts, and the daily lives of people. We dine in a famous night club, ice-skate at Rockefeller Center on Christmas Day, and experience the neighborhood shops, delicatessens, and movie palaces. The author describes Ruthie's explosive father, her glamorous former showgirl aunt, her gossipy neighbors, and her loving mother. Secrets are revealed - her girlfriends' escapes from Hitler's Europe, her grandmother's struggles - and at the end of her journey, Ruthie experiences both good and bad during a car trip to Miami. She and her family are turned away from an hotel because they are Jewish, she witnesses racial discrimination, but she also meets a boy on the beach and discovers first love. Finally, Ruthie realizes she has within her the courage to face whatever life has in store.