Oh, my fellow Cannonballers, you really do have the best taste around! Thanks to some rave reviews from ModernLove, badkittyuno, and narfna I put this on my library hold list. It came in right away, and from the first page I had trouble putting it down.
This is a harrowing story of integration in Virginia in the late 1950s, and while not about real people Ms. Talley clearly did a lot of research. The story of Sarah Dunbar and classmates in this fictional town of Davisburg, VA (somewhere in southern Virginia) was both heartbreaking and uplifting to read. It’s amazing to think of how recently this actually happened. Ms. Talley does not hold back on the discrimination and abuse these incredible teenagers went through. It seems bananas to me that people could be so hateful, but honestly, that’s still how a lot of the world works.
Anywho, back to the actual book. This story is more than just about Sarah and her classmates integrating, as almost half is told from the point of view of Linda, a well to do white girl in town whose father is one of the anti-integration leaders. Reading from both Sarah and Linda’s point of view offers two unique stories as they get to know one another and their prejudices and shields fall away to their real selves. It’s poignant and beautiful, and I can’t recommend it enough.
There’s so much more to say about this story, but really it’ll just turn into rambling mushy praise. Do yourselves a favor though, and go read it. It’s a thoughtful historical young adult novel with themes that ring just as true today as when the events occurred.