In Sagrado, they have to put up with even more insolent servants in Amadeo and Excilda Montoya and a whole cast of charming local characters. Josh is befriended by Marcia Davidson, daughter of the town's Episcopalian rector, and William "Steenie" Stenopolous, son of the town doctor, but has a more uneasy relationship with their many Hispanic classmates.
Bradford uses Josh's relationships with those around him to illuminate the very different cultures of the South and the Southwest and he really excels at writing fast-paced, witty dialogue. Josh's father in particular has some hilarious exchanges with the superintendent of his shipyard and with Amadeo. Also, Sagrado's sheriff, Chamaco, is a real hoot. The adventures and misadventures of Josh, Steenie, and Marcia as they try to grow up too fast are quite amusing and, when circumstances finally do force them to grow up, the story is poignant without being maudlin.