Secondhand Summer begins in Ninilchik, a tiny Alaskan community where the Barger family fishes for salmon. The father's death forces a move from the homestead to an apartment in a poor section of Anchorage. The tale is about Sam, a fourteen-year-old boy who loved the life he left behind. Like most kids his age, his physical abilities and his imagination exceed his judgment and knowledge. The story focuses on the boy’s adventuresome adjustments to the big city, the loss of his father, and becoming a teenager.