"It's not like I never thought about being mixed race. I guess it was just that, in Brooklyn, everyone was competing to be unique or surprising. By comparison, I was boring, seriously. Really boring."
Culture shock knocks city girl Agnes "Nes" Murphy-Pujols off-kilter when she's transplanted mid–senior year from Brooklyn to a small Southern town after her mother's relationship with a coworker self-destructs. On top of the move, Nes is nursing a broken heart and severe homesickness, so her plan is simple: keep her head down, graduate and get out. Too bad that flies out the window on day one, when she opens her smart mouth and pits herself against the school's reigning belle and the principal.
Her rebellious streak attracts the attention of local golden boy Doyle Rahn, who teaches Nes the ropes at Ebenezer. As her friendship with Doyle sizzles into something more, Nes discovers the town she's learning to like has an insidious undercurrent of racism. The color of her skin was never something she thought about in Brooklyn, but after a frightening traffic stop on an isolated road, Nes starts to see signs everywhere—including at her own high school where, she learns, they hold proms. Two of them. One black, one white.
Nes and Doyle band together with a ragtag team of classmates to plan an alternate prom. But when a lit cross is left burning in Nes's yard, the alterna-prommers realize that bucking tradition comes at a price. Maybe, though, that makes taking a stand more important than anything.
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by Megan Crewe
by Sharon M. Draper
by Sharon Flake
by Omar Tyree
by Rita Williams-Garcia
by Pat Zietlow Miller
by Adrienne Bellamy
by Varian Johnson
by Alan Lawrence Sitomer
by Janice Harrington
"Narrator Sisi Aisha Johnson clearly contrasts first-person narrator Agnes (Nes), who is from Brooklyn, and secondary characters who reside in a small Southern town. Newly arrived Nes has an edgy Northern accent, which is sometimes colored with the Latina rhythms of her Dominican background. Johnson's portrayal of Nes suggests her emotional pain, which relates to her mother, who embroiled them in an unsavory scandal and then moved Nes to Georgia in the middle of her senior year. One can hear the bitterness that has sprung up between them in Johnson's narration. She contrasts these sharp edges with the soothing voice and gentle manner of Doyle Rahn, Nes's new crush. But the softness of Southern accents belies the racism and abuse that lie close to the surface of this story. S.W. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine"
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