"When her best friend Gemma's parents are killed in a house fire, Jessilyn Lassiter's parents take the girl in. Trouble is, the year is 1932, Gemma is black, the Lassiters are white, and they live in a small Virginia town. Spunky Jessilyn is 13 years old, but her story will appeal to readers of all ages. Winner of the Christian Writers Guild's 2007 Operation First Novel contest, Valent's debut is both heartwarming and hand-wringing as it shows how one family endured the threats small and large of a prejudiced community while maintaining moral integrity. The cast of characters is rich. Jessilyn's mother wrestles with the social cost of challenging convention, her father is a dream dad and the neighbor's wisdom is as spicy as her cake. Jessilyn's romantic interest and penchant for trouble keep the tone light while the plot reminds readers of the evil that ordinary human beings are capable of doing, even in the name of righteousness. The book stares down violence and terror, making its affirmation of surprising goodness believable."
This is an awesome novel. I was hooked by the very first page, and kept reading until I finished. I enjoy books with this theme.....I like to think about how things were when my grandmother was a young woman, back in the early 30's. This story is rich in history, and friendship. It is about the love of a close-knit white family who reaches out to care for an orphaned negro girl. Borders are crossed that will cause outrage among the residents of a small southern community. I loved the character Jessilyn! She was a fiesty 13 year old, wanting to grow up too fast, then is faced with very grown-up situations that she is not quite sure how to handle. With the love and support of her parents and her new-found-friend Luke Talley, Jessilyn finds out what it takes to cross the lines of segregation in Southern Virginia in 1932.
I highly recommend this book - It definitely earns 5 stars!
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (December 8, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1414324324
- ISBN-13: 978-1414324326