Synopses & Reviews
It's 1962, a year after the death of Sam's father--he was a war hero--and Sam and her mother must move, along with their very liberal views, to Jackson, Mississippi, her father's conservative hometown. Needless to say, they don't quite fit in.
People like the McLemores fear that Sam, her mother, and her mother's artist friend, Perry, are in the South to "agitate" and to shake up the dividing lines between black and white and blur it all to grey. As racial injustices ensue--sit-ins and run-ins with secret white supremacists--Sam learns to focus with her camera lens to bring forth the social injustice out of the darkness and into the light.
"This historical novel set in 1962 Mississippi spotlights the tensions of the early civil rights movement through the evolution of 14-year-old Sam, a former army brat transplanted to her recently deceased father's home state when her mother accepts a teaching job at the local college. McMullan (Cashay) effectively captures the Southern setting and frames Sam's conflict between belonging and doing the right thing in the face of racial prejudice. 'I just wanted to fit into this place just as we had fit in to all the other towns we had lived in... do whatever it was we were supposed to do, let whatever was supposed to happen happen.' Sam's pivotal relationships with her family's maid, feisty grandmother, and love interest, Stone, whose family staunchly advocates white supremacy, force her to define her own beliefs. And her interest in photography, inspired by her mother's activist boyfriend, helps her focus on this society in transition, as she documents lunch counter protests and develops shocking film after a murder. It's a high stakes novel that powerfully portrays the bravery and loss of a tumultuous time. Ages 10 up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Like many novels that have civil rights at the center of them, this is not an easy read, but it is worth the effort. McMullans well-chosen words realistically portray the conflicts that Sam, her mother, and those around them face. The truths the teen learns are timeless, allowing readers to identify with her. Make room on your library shelves for this one."—School Library Journal,
"When 14-year-old Samantha Thomas moves to Jackson, Miss., in 1962, following her fathers death in Vietnam, she learns about love and hate all in the same year...Though this fine volume easily stands by itself, McMullan links it with two previous works—How I Found the Strong (2004) and When I Crossed No-Bob (2007)—and readers who read the first installments will feel that they are in the midst of an excellent historical saga."—Kirkus
"This historical novel set in 1962 Mississippi spotlights the tensions of the early civil rights movement through the evolution of 14-year-old Sam, a former army brat transplanted to her recently deceased father's home state when her mother accepts a teaching job at the local college. McMullan (Cashay) effectively captures the Southern setting and frames Sam's conflict between belonging and doing the right thing in the face of racial prejudice...It's a high stakes novel that powerfully portrays the bravery and loss of a tumultuous time."—Publishers Weekly
A new novel by the author of WHEN I CROSSED NO-BOB and CASHAY.
Margaret McMullan, the acclaimed author of How I Found the Strong, and When I Crossed No-Bob, delivers a masterfully crafted novel about photography, tragedy, romance, racism, and family set in the segregated South during the civil rights movement.
About the Author
Margaret McMullan is the acclaimed author of When I Crossed No-Bob and How I Found the Strong, as well as the adult novels In My Mothers House and When Warhol Was Still Alive. Her work has appeared in such publications as Glamour, the Chicago Tribune, and Michigan Quarterly Review. She is a professor and the chair of the English department at the University of Evansville in Indiana.