4.5 rounded up for the refreshingly unusual concept. At first glance I was like, huh, opossum shifters--seriously? Don't be fooled by that. There's so much more to this book than troublesome little critters (although the Johnson triplets certainly count as such...)This is the story of Dustin and Seth, best childhood friends who haven't seen each other in years. Seth used to live in the small town of Possum Kingdom, but after his parents died, his maternal grandmother took him away. However, Seth is back now to take care of Grand-aunt Irene's legacy--and totally ignorant to the fact that said legacy entails more than real estate. Dustin used to be Irene's second in command as passel leader, and that's what he liked to be as he never wanted to be a leader himself. This isn't the only reason why he's happy to learn that Seth is coming back; he never forgot his childhood friend, even though all his letters remained unanswered. But Seth is very different from the friend Dustin remembers. Seth is reluctant to be here, oblivious to his inheritance--and the possible danger that might come with it. And now Dustin's got his hands full with keeping the passel together and safe and helping find a new leader, he needs to take care of Seth too. A task made all the more difficult by the fact that what he feels for Seth is far, far more than friendship... This book is full to the brim with colorful, well-wrought characters, quirky ideas and imaginative plot twists. It's an entertaining read, beautifully written, poignant at times, hilariously funny at others. But at the core, it's a wise and heartwarming tale about family, friendship, loyalty and finding one's place in life. I can only warmly recommend it.