Ivy Carson belonged to the notorious Carson family which lived, from time to time, in a rundown house on the outskirts of Rosewood, California – moving out whenever the police or the debt-collectors got too close. But Ivy wasn't like the other Carsons. Martha Abbott, who came from a well-run, affectionate home, was frightened by a great many things when she was small, and the Carsons frightened he more than most; but Ivy didn't scare her a bit. Ivy was different.
"I'm really a changeling," Ivy said, quite casually. A changeling, according to Ivy, was the child of magic creatures – a witch's baby, or maybe a troll's – exchanged for a human baby during the first hours of life. Martha was fascinated by the idea, and watching Ivy slide down their tree-rope, spinning in and out of shadow and sunlight, she didn't doubt it for a moment.
That first meeting took place when Ivy and Martha were still small, and in spite of the Abbott family's disapproval, in spite of the way the Carsons disappeared for years at a time, their friendship was to last right through, from eight to fifteen and beyond. The times when Ivy was around were special for Martha, exciting and alive despite the trouble their friendship sometimes brought – for Rosewood wasn't a good place top be different in. What they gave her was worth any amount of sniping.