12-year-old Sylvia is shocked and confused when she is asked to be one of the first black students to attend Central High School, which is scheduled to be integrated in the fall of 1957 — whether people like it or not. She's an honor student, so her selection is a compliment, but it also means diving headfirst into the debate over the desegregation of schools. Maybe she would be better off in a black-only school, focusing on getting into college, rather than making herself a target for prejudice and violence.
But before Sylvia makes her decision, smoldering racial tension in the town ignites into flame. When the smoke clears, she sees clearly that nothing is going to stop the change from coming — and it is up to her generation to make it happen. This unflinching historical fiction novel illuminates the realities of school desegregation — and challenges readers to consider how they too can change the world.
"With stirring complexity, Draper personalizes the civil rights struggle beyond slogans and politics. There is sometimes too much historical background purposively woven into Sylvia's narrative, including her diary entries. But the surprising turnaround in the plot, as well as the shocking facts, will grab readers and raise the elemental issue: what would I have done? A final note fills in history and provides a list of Web sites." -- Hazel Rochman, Booklist
|Recommended Age||12 and up|
|Publication Date||Sep 18, 2008|