Jessilyn Lassiter tells her tale of mishaps, struggles and discoveries during the summer of 1932. She's just turned thirteen and she finds trouble, or trouble finds her, just about every time she opens her mouth. Her best friend is Gemma, a slightly older African-American girl whose family lives on her daddy's farm. All is as it should be in the south in the 30s, including segregation of the races, and everyone knows their place in the world. That is until a freak lightning strike from a thunderstorm kills Gemma's parents, leaving her orphaned and alone in the world. The Lassiters take Gemma into their home as a member of their family, and thus starts the insanity of bigotry and hate delivered by friends and neighbors. Even now, nearly two generations later, I can't grasp why anyone would treat other human beings with such disdain, fear and hate. Is it because I was raised in Kansas, where the fight to be admitted as a free-state made bleeding headlines in national newspapers in the 1850s? Or because I grew up with civil rights already a fact, albeit not equally applied, but definitely a step further down the road to freedom and tolerance. This is a good first novel for Jennifer Valent. I struggled a bit with the amount of dialog, and the southern colloquialisms, and I was breathless most of the time trying to keep up with a headstrong impulsive foolish thirteen year-old girl with more guts than sense.