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Fourteen-year-old Francie Grove is all alone. Since her mother died, she’s held her sadness inside, and sometimes it just seems too much to bear. When Francie meets Ruthie, she finds a soul mate—someone who understands her perfectly. But Francie is white and Ruthie is black. In Alabama in 1966, they live in a world where they aren’t supposed to be friends. The people in the town turn vicious toward Francie because of prejudice, but nevertheless she’ll never abandon Ruthie.

Tormented by her neighbors and the kids at school, Francie also struggles with her father. Torn apart by her mother’s death, he drinks constantly and sometimes doesn’t come home at night. He secretly believes that his wife’s death wasn’t an accident. Ruthie and her family are Francie’s only solace, and although they don’t yet know it, they hold the key to unlocking the mystery of her mother’s death.

This deep and powerful novel touches on the heartache of loss, the joy of true friendship, and the core of true human relationships.