The characters in this story are the same boys featured in THE ROCK. Both boys are now twelve, one beginning, and one finishing his journey through the most wonderful and fearful year of their lives. A twelve-year-old boy is a riddle. He isnt a little kid, but he isnt a big kid either. He is a mixture; partly adult; partly big kid; and partly little kid. This story centers on the problem of worthiness as experienced by the twelve-year-oldself worth. This is a problem for many boys because they are on their way toward being men, and are expected to be big, tough, and fearless. In reality, boys this age are about two years behind their female counterparts in many respects; physical size, sexual and emotional maturity. For example, seventh grade girls do most things, even boy things, better than boys. Yet, boys vainly suppress their feelings and emotions to try to prove themselves as "men." Fears of unworthiness tormented Dennis. Throughout his life, Dennis's pride and ego were reinforced by caring for a younger, neighbor boy who suffered from several physical and emotional problems. This made Dennis feel important and needed. The desire to be needed was so intense within Dennis that when his friend grew out of his problems and moved away, his life became empty. His very reason for existence had been taken away. As he visits his best friend, Dennis finds himself in the midst of a real family tragedy, even facing death, and learns that he doesn't have to do "adult things" to be respected and to be happy with himself. This story is also about the McDougalls, a close, old-fashioned family with a deep, evangelical, religious faith. The characters in WORTHY run headlong into this life-changing faith as events unfold throughout the story.