This book takes place in the 1970s although the time period doesn't play a huge role in the story. The book starts with an Emily Dickinson poem and returns to the theme "Hope is the thing with feathers," the first line in that poem. I liked this book and I guess it could win the Newbery but I personally wouldn't give it that award.
Frannie has a lot going on in her life, her brother is deaf and sometimes people make fun of him, her mom is pregnant but she has already lost three babies before, and a new boy has moved into town. This new boy is strange. He's white but he says he's not. Kids start to tease him and call him Jesus Boy because of his long hair.
This book looks at how Frannie changes/grows because of all these things that are going on.