This is a story rife with fire. In Shell Beach, where teenaged Macey Clare divides her life between her busy parents and her sweet-natured grandparents, neighbors gather around driftwood bonfires. Arson in the inner-city church where Macey volunteers leaves her asking why life should be so hard for some people--a question that becomes more urgent when her new friend Venita is killed in the crossfire of a gang shootout. And primary to the story is the mysterious fire of 1959 that burned down a barn across the street from Macey's grandparents' house. When Macey and her new love Austin begin to explore the barn's history for a school project, their families and neighbors become strangely evasive. But the pieces begin to fit together when Macey and Austin discover that long ago the barn had been turned into an apartment, the inhabitant of which was the first--and last--black high school teacher in Shell Beach. Why was the building burned down? And, more importantly, whose hand lit the match? As they dig deeper, Macey and Austin become more frightened of the truth--of answers that will rekindle fires of bigotry much too close to their own lives.|
Caroline Cooney, the popular and prolific author of The Face on the Milk Carton and many other young adult novels, has risen to new heights of suspenseful storytelling with this wise and compassionate story. Teens will be riveted by the gradual revelation of the mystery, and inspired by Cooney's clear message that young people--as well as their elders--can be caught up in the apathy of "doing nothing" about evil. (Ages 12 and older).
Source: Patty Campbell, Amazon.com.