The time is 1950. The place is a small town in the Midwest. The girl is Claire, and she has a new black friend. But in an all-white town, how open can the girls be about their friendship?
Now Claire faces being the new girl” in school. A year later, she is confronting betrayal . . . and sin. Finally, she is fifteen and in love. But it is not a love that can be spoken of, least of all by Claire.
In five interrelated stories, Claire grows into a young woman, learning about racism, sex, and love along the way. Most of all, she learns about truth.
Between 1950 and 1955, Claire Davis, eleven years old in 1950, begins to grow up and question many things in her life. Segregation, faith and sin, friendship, betrayal, love, and sexuality are all topics touched on in five short stories, each detailing different points in Claire's life. In "Friend of Liberty," Claire encounters the racism of the north during this era when she befriends a young black girl and they go to the Fourth of July parade together. "New Girl" brings Claire to a new school and a new friend. "Killing Miss Kitty" questions her own role in the death of a pet cat. In "Sin," Claire goes through confirmation in her church and learns that sin is not something that will be so easily wiped away. And finally, "Everything We Know" shows Claire at the cusp of womanhood and the realization that not everything supposedly known about oneself is true. Bauer's prose is intense and self-examining and she does not hold back from tough subjects. This is not a book for young children, but some older teens will identify with the harsher truths Claire encounters through the course of growing up in these five stories.