In Russell's jumbled novel, Haddie Bashford is a young white woman with a great deal of growing up to do. She lives in rural 1960s Maryland where segregation is the law, but race relations between the locals are more progressive. All of that changes when a black youth is shot for assaulting a white farmer's disabled son. This—coupled with the increase in sit-ins in nearby towns—raises racial tensions to a new level. And if that isn't enough, an arsonist is also striking the town, destroying property irrespective of its owner's race. Haddie must negotiate all of this, as well as her burgeoning adolescence, a crush on a much older friend, and a sense that everything is not as easy as she once thought. Russell paints a detailed, compelling portrait of time and place, but there's way too much going on, with plot threads initiated and then dropped, as if Russell is unsure about which story she wants to tell. The result is a novel that's easy to get into, but hard to stay with.