This has been a great read and I highly recommend it for young adults everywhere. It's a story about Mississippi in the 1960s and the fight for segregation and how hate and racism affects all relationships, working, family, friendships, and community.
Samantha is 14 going on 15 and her after her dad dies in Vietnam, her mother accepts a teaching position in Mississippi. Samantha and her mom have different ideas about race, class, and segregation than the rest of Mississippi in 1962 tho and Samantha is about to find that out the hard way. After her mom goes to an African American college and gives a lecture, people begin attacking her mom in the papers, throwing stuff in their windows, and applying hateful graffiti to their front door. Samantha even witnesses the depths of southern hate right there in her local drug store while angry white men poor ketchup and drinks over the head of a young African American woman sitting at a counter. Samantha's school assignment is to do a report on the state of Mississippi and as she attempts to capture the state from behind a hand me down camera, racism and hate is all she sees.
On top of the race riots that seem to be going on right in her backyard, Samantha is also dealing with her first crush.. to a boy that may possibly be one of those angry white men. Will her personal beliefs take precedence over young love? She must also deal with a budding relationship between her mother and a young photographer.
Great novel. I only grew bored during one part. When Samantha visits her grandparents for Christmas... it really doesn't have much bearing on the rest of the tale... felt out of place. Otherwise, good tale and should be placed on children's summer reading lists this year.